The Kachin National Organization (KNO) released a statement in support of the prosecution of Burma in the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by the Gambia on Friday.
The Gambia, as a member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, has brought a case against the Burmese government for crimes including genocide against the Rohingya minority in Rakhine State. The charges were officially filed in the court in The Hague, Netherlands, on November 11.
“We, the KNO, have supported a prosecution against Burmese leaders—who committed genocide against the Rohingya—at the ICJ,” Layang Hkun Htoi, who is in charge of the KNO’s Council Secretary in London, told KNG. “They destroyed houses, villages, and mosques by fire. They don’t have a human spirit. Our Kachin people have been suffering like this for 50 to 60 years.”
The Gambia has accused Burma of violating international law by breaking the 1948 convention on the prevention and punishment of genocide in military crimes against the Rohingya, including systematic killings, rape, and displacement.
The KNO said that they hoped the international community would back the initiative as a way to pursue justice for the Rohingya and other persecuted ethnic communities in Burma. Since 2015, the KNO has called for the prosecution of Burmese leaders in the International Criminal Court (ICC) for human rights abuses perpetrated against Kachin communities.
“It is essential that the Government of Burma and the Burma Military be held accountable for their crimes against humanity,” the KNO’s November 15 statement said.
The KNO is one of the largest Kachin political organizations abroad and does not recognize Burma’s 2008 Constitution drafted by the Burmese military.
The KNO and KIO signed a memorandum of understanding in 2011 agreeing to work together in the Kachin political struggle.