(MYANMAR, January 2023) – On January 20, 2023, Fortify Rights and 16 individual complainants from Myanmar filed a criminal complaint with the Federal Public Prosecutor General of Germany under the principle of universal jurisdiction against senior Myanmar military generals and others for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity. The 215-page complaint and more than 1,000 pages of annexes provide evidence of atrocities committed against the Rohingya community and in the aftermath of the military’s coup d’état on February 1, 2021. Fortify Right’s worked for more than two years with a pro bono legal team at Covington & Burling LLP to develop the complaint.
On February 3, 2023, the Federal Public Prosecutor General reached out to Covington & Burling LLP via email to confirm receipt of the complaint and asked for it to be translated into German.
On January 24, 2023, Fortify Rights held a press conference at the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand to discuss the filing of the complaint in Germany against the Myanmar generals. To promote the event, Fortify Rights created a Facebook invitation and media advisory. More than 40 participants joined the event in person, including several journalists, and another 70 people attended via the two Facebook Livestream. The initiative received coverage in more than 80 media outlets and nearly 300 news articles.
On the day of the press conference, Fortify Rights published a news release and film about the criminal complaint. The news release and film summarized the details of the complaint and included quotes from the complainants. Fortify Rights also screened the film during the press conference. On January 31, 2023, one day before the anniversary of the coup in Myanmar, Fortify Rights published a Burmese-language version of the film. Fortify Rights also produced and posted on January 24, 2023 an infographic social media card on the criminal complaint, including a map of Myanmar and a visual gender breakdown of the individual complainants.
Fortify Rights also published on February 20, 2023 a short film providing an overview of the press conference.
Ahead of the press conference, on January 20, 2023, Fortify Rights published an animated explainer video on “What is Universal Jurisdiction?” in English as well as a version in Burmese with Rohingya audio.
Both before and after the filing of the complaint, Fortify Rights engaged in a series of strategic advocacy meetings to share information on the complaint and request support for the initiative. Fortify Rights briefed with senior government officials, including the National Unity Government of Myanmar; members of the diplomatic community, including the German embassy in Yangon and Bangkok; U.N. representatives; international accountability mechanisms, and others.