A human rights group and 16 people from Myanmar have filed a criminal complaint in Germany seeking punishment of Myanmar’s generals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity they alleged were committed in that country after their 2021 government takeover and during a 2017 crackdown on minority Rohingya Muslims.
Fortify Rights, a complainant in the case announced Tuesday in Bangkok, said “the individuals responsible for crimes related to both have yet to be held accountable.”
Ines Peterson, spokesperson for Germany’s federal prosecutor’s office, confirmed that the legal complaint had been received but said she could not immediately elaborate. The office would have to decide whether to file an indictment before the matter can go to court, a potentially lengthy process.
The actions of Myanmar’s generals also are under investigation by the International Criminal Court and in a genocide case at the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court.
Activists seeking accountability have also filed cases in national courts in Argentina, Turkey and now Germany as well, under the concept of universal jurisdiction.
The legal principle allows prosecution for mass atrocities regardless of location or nationality when the offenses are so severe they represent crimes against the entire international community, said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer and co-founder at Fortify Rights.