Myanmar People’s Assembly Pledges to Try Junta at ICC

By The Irrawaddy 31 January 2022

Myanmar People’s Assembly, an all-inclusive grouping of major pro-democracy forces, has pledged to work to bring the junta before the International Criminal Court to be tried for its atrocities against civilians in the wake of last year’s February 1 coup.

“The Assembly strongly condemns the actions of the terrorist military junta that include widespread and intentional arrests, torture, and the murder of innocent people throughout the union, which [junta’s actions] amount to crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocides that obviously breach international human rights law including the Geneva Convention,” said the Assembly in a statement released Sunday.

“Thus, the Assembly will strive to take action against the terrorist military junta before the International Criminal Court though the United Nations (UN) Security Council,” the statement adds.

To date, the military regime has killed at least 1,499 civilians during its lethal crackdowns against anti-coup protesters and resistance groups. Over 11,800 more have been arrested, including the country’s civilian government leaders.

The first People’s Assembly, convened by the National Unity Consultative Council (NUCC), a coalition of political groups against the junta, was held online last week from January 27-29 with 388 delegates from different political groups. The participants also included observers and international guests.

The Assembly seeks to root out dictatorship and to establish a federal democratic union guaranteeing equality and self-determination, said Ko Tuu, a delegate representing the General Strike Coordination Committee. The NUCC plans to hold the People’s Assembly every six months, he told the press conference on Sunday.

The People’s Assembly also ratified the NUCC-drafted Federal Democracy Charter (FDC), formally established the NUCC with representatives from 33 member organizations and reaffirmed the formation of the National Unity Government (NUG). The Assembly called upon the international community to recognize the NUG as Myanmar’s only legitimate government and to reject the junta.

The FDC outlines initial agreements on establishing a federal democratic union and interim constitutional arrangement, before the country adopts a new constitution that can guarantee equality and autonomy through a national referendum.

NUCC members represent elected lawmakers; ethnic resistance organizations (ERO), political parties which are not aligned with the regime, anti-junta strikers including the Civil Disobedience Movement, unions, civil society groups of women, youth and minorities, and the representative committees of interim state and federal units and ethnic groups.

Anti-junta strikers, widely known as Spring Revolution forces, have more representation on the NUCC than other political and armed resistance bodies.

Three EROs, including the Karen National Union, Karenni National Progressive Party and another unidentified group, are members of the NUCC according to a source close to the NUCC, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The NUCC does not disclose its council members for security reasons. Other EROs representing ethnic groups such as the Kachin, Chin, Mon and Pa-o also take part under their own interim representative councils in the NUCC.

In mid-November, the leaders of the NUCC said in their first press conference that the NUCC is based on “collective leadership” and that each group had made their own decision to come together in a union.

At that time, U Min Ko Naing, a veteran student leader and one of the key figures in the NUCC, said that the NUCC will be a political body free of the Myanmar military’s meddling in the political arena, something which hasn’t happened since the country became independent in 1948.

The Assembly urged the international community and the UN: “to make every effort towards the implementation of Internationally Guaranteed Civilian Protection – Safe Zones that would protect civilians in Karen, Karenni (Kayah), Chin, Magway (Magwe) and Sagaing areas from both air strikes and ground attacks of the terrorist military junta since its superior forces targeted civilians and committed atrocities.”

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