Ireland is not currently a member of the UN Security Council and is, therefore, not in a position to formally offer support on the question of referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court. I met the chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court last week and the case of the Rohingya is being assessed with regard to the potential for a prosecution. However, the findings of the independent international fact-finding mission on Myanmar provide credible evidence that human rights violations amounting to crimes against humanity and war crimes have been committed by members of the Burmese military and other security forces in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan states.
The mission’s report also finds that there is sufficient evidence of the crimes committed in Rakhin state being so grave that they warrant a competent court to determine the liability for the crime of genocide of those in the military chain of command.
Having considered this evidence, Ireland would support the referral of the situation in Myanmar by the Security Council to the ICC. The Security Council is the only competent body that can take this step. However, given the political and legal difficulties that surround such a referral, our focus in ensuring accountability and investigation of the allegations is necessarily elsewhere.
We are working closely with international partners in other fora, including the UN Human Rights Council and the EU, to ensure measures are put in place to allow the investigation of human rights violations and that those who have perpetrated these crimes are held to account. Ultimately, longstanding drivers of tensions between the Buddhist majority and ethnic minority communities in Myanmar must be resolved in order to build a lasting peace. The work done by the Peace Fund in peace-building activities, including reconciliation and research, is to be commended. In particular, its work in capacity-building and supporting participation from under-represented groups is important in building a sustainable and lasting peace in Myanmar. I would, however, defer to the fund’s primary donors on financial issues, including on the question of an audit.
Additional information not given on the floor of the House
It is important that any peace process in Myanmar extend to the entire country, as many regions have been affected by ethnic conflict. In that regard, I note that the report of the IIFFM as presented in advance of the recent 39th session of the Human Rights Council already included an examination of the situation in the northern part of Myanmar, in particular the states of Kachin and Shan. In addition, the resolution adopted at that session on Myanmar encompasses the entire country.