KWAT: No Justice in Burma Army’s Crimes in Northern Shan State

The Kachin Women’s Association – Thailand (KWAT) has released a report demonstrating how justice has yet to be served in crimes committed by the Burma Army in northern Shan State.

KWAT launched its human rights report on January 7, reporting six criminal cases committed by the military during 2019 in the region.

“While the international community was saying that the Burma Army committed war crimes, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi rejected it and said that army systematically charged perpetrators in line with the law,” San Htoi, who is working with KWAT, told KNG.

San Htoi was referencing State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi’s testimony in defense of the Burmese state in a genocide case brought by the Gambia before the International Court of Justice in December. The State Counsellor cited Burma’s court-martial system and internal ability to address reports of military abuse.

“In practice, the situation is completely the opposite on the ground… The Burma Army has committed human rights abuses and it’s really difficult to bring these human rights abuse cases to justice,” San Htoi said.

In its report, KWAT references multiple cases for which perpetrators have not been arrested.

Nhkum Nang Htoi, age 51, was killed in Nam Sung village in Kutkai township on July 3, 2019. KWAT said that they suspected that troops from the Burma Army’s Infantry Battalion 261 were likely involved in the murder.

The case, they said, was similar to the murder of two volunteer teachers in Kawng Hka village in 2015.

No one has been prosecuted for these crimes.

“We want to let the international community know that nobody has been trying to solve these cases. We want to let the UN’s human rights council know about these cases. We also want to let the NLD [National League for Democracy] government know about it. We want to let Burmese people living in the central area of the country to know about it. We want to let international monitoring groups and truth-seeking groups know about these things,” San Htoi explained.

Also documented in the report are the deaths of villagers killed by the firing of heavy weapons in Mohit village in Kutkai.

KWAT has demanded that the Burma Army cease all military operations in ethnic regions and end the militarization of these areas.

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