Myanmar’s Democracy Movement Hires International Lawyers

By The Irrawaddy 12 March 2021

In the latest attempt to bring down Myanmar’s coup leaders, the committee representing elected members of the Union Parliament from the National League for Democracy (NLD) has hired a London-based legal firm.

The Committee Representing the Pyidaungsu Hluttaw (CRPH), formed by the lawmakers who could not take their seats in the Union Parliament because of the Feb. 1 coup, announced that it has engaged international law firm Volterra Fietta.

The CRPH said the firm would also advise on international legal proceedings against those responsible for violently cracking down on pro-democracy protesters and armed aggression against democratic representatives.

Myanmar’s legal team is due to be led by Robert Volterra and Álvaro Nistal, who have advised numerous states and victims of human rights violations.

The firm’s website says it specializes in international law with experience at the International Court of Justice, the International Criminal Court and other global courts.

The CRPH said legal proceedings will take time but it will pursue them vigorously and steadfastly to hold to account the perpetrators of widespread and systematic human rights violations, including soldiers, police and common criminals.

“We are gathering large volumes of evidence,” the statement said.

By Thursday, at least 2,045 people have been detained by the military, including politicians, activists and protesters, since the coup. More than 70 civilians have been killed by the military junta.

On Thursday, Amnesty International said the military has been using increasingly lethal tactics and weapons normally seen on the battlefield rather than against peaceful protesters and bystanders. It said after examining more than 50 videos, its evidence lab confirmed the security forces appeared to be implementing planned, systematic strategies, including the ramped-up use of lethal force. Many of the killings documented amount to extrajudicial executions, Amnesty said.

Joanne Mariner, Amnesty’s director of crisis response, said: “These are not the actions of overwhelmed, individual officers making poor decisions. These are unrepentant commanders already implicated in crimes against humanity, deploying their troops and murderous methods in the open.

“The military authorities must immediately cease their deadly onslaught, de-escalate the situation nationwide, and release all those arbitrarily detained,” she added.

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