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New Zealand Asked To Support UN Inquiry Into War Crimes

By Burma Office New Zealand of the National Council of the Union of Burma, and Burma Campaign UK  •  August 20, 2010

The Burma Office New Zealand of the National Council of the Union of Burma, and Burma Campaign UK, have joined forces to call on the government of New Zealand to support a UN Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.

New Zealand played a key role in negotiating the Rome Statute which established the International Criminal Court, and was one of the first to ratify the treaty. However, despite pledging to support bringing those who commit war crimes and crimes against humanity to justice, New Zealand has still not publicly supported a UN Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.

Earlier this week the USA became the fifth country to publicly support an Inquiry, joining Australia, UK, Czech Republic and Slovakia.

In a groundbreaking report in March this year, the Special Rapporteur on Burma stated that the ‘gross and systematic’ nature of the abuses and the lack of action to stop them indicated; ‘a state policy that involves authorities in the executive, military and judiciary at all levels.’ He also stated; ‘According to consistent reports, the possibility exists that some of these human rights violations may entail categories of crimes against humanity or war crimes under the terms of the Statute of the International Criminal Court.’ … ‘UN institutions may consider the possibility to establish a commission of inquiry with a specific fact finding mandate to address the question of international crimes.’

“New Zealand should support this endeavor to bring justice and end human rights abuses in Burma,” said Naing Ko Ko, Director of the National Council of the Union of Burma New Zealand Office and a former political prisoner. “Burma’s generals are responsible for rape, murder and torture, they have been breaking international law for years and nothing has been done to stop them. New Zealand must support a UN investigation into these crimes.”

“New Zealand should be at the forefront of supporting respect for international law, not dragging its heels” said Mark Farmaner, Director of Burma Campaign UK. “New Zealand should publicly support a UN Commission of Inquiry, and work for language establishing a Commission of Inquiry to be included in the UN General Assembly resolution on Burma later this year.”

For more information: Naing Ko Ko +642-1121-8118 and Mark Farmaner on 44(0)7941239640

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This post is in: Press Release

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