Still No Justice in Case of Murdered Kachin Teachers

Nearly half a decade after two young Kachin schoolteachers were raped and murdered in northern Shan State, a truth investigation team is still working to ensure that the victims receive justice.

Maran Lu Ra and Tangbau Hkawng Nan Tsin, who were both in their twenties, died at the hands of their killers in Kawng Hkar, a village in northern Shan State’s Muse District, on January 19, 2015.

The chief suspects in the case were soldiers and a commander from the Burma Army’s Light Infantry Battalion 503. However, when the Kachin Baptist Convention (KBC) pushed for their prosecution, the district court in Lashio rejected the results of their investigation, and no further action was taken by the authorities.

However, the KBC says it has not abandoned the case.

“Our truth investigation team is still working on it. We won’t stop. We are working with lawyers. We will take action when we get enough evidence,” KBC Chairman Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson told KNG.

A year after the incident, the Kachin Women’s Association of Thailand (KWAT) released a report titled “Justice Delayed, Justice Denied,” in which it accused Burma Army troops stationed at the village of committing the crime.

“They could test the blood and organs of the women, and their hair, which were found at the incident site. The government tested the DNA, but there was no result. I think the true result is still in the hospital. We expect to find the truth,” said San Htoi, the KWAT joint secretary.

According to KWAT, the Burma Army has committed numerous acts of sexual violence and other human rights abuses in Kachin State since the collapse of a ceasefire in 2011. Until now, no one has been brought to justice for these crimes.

The KBC continues to hold prayer services for the two murdered women, who were working as volunteer teachers under the auspices of the KBC, on January 19 of each year.

According to Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson, he still has no answers for family members of the dead teachers.

“We can’t bring this case to court. We don’t have concrete evidence in our hands. All data are in the hands of the police. What we can do is investigate the case on our own. Regarding this rape case, we have yet to get concrete information, so we have no information to give their families,” he told KNG.

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