Myanmar nationals file complaint in PH vs military junta officials for war crimes | Global News

Myanmar nationals file complaint in PH vs military junta officials for war crimes

/ 05:52 PM October 25, 2023

MANILA, Philippines — Five citizens of Chin State in Myanmar on Wednesday filed a complaint in the Philippines against their military officers for war crimes such as torture, burning of churches and houses, murder, and blocking relief supplies.

Based on the complaint, acts of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) are war crimes in violation of Republic Act (RA) 9851 or the Philippine Act on Crimes against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity.

Atty. Rommel Bagares, one of the lawyers representing the five complainants, said the Philippines, as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), has a regional obligation to pursue this case.


“As part of ASEAN, the Philippines has a responsibility to assist our neighboring countries, like the Myanmar people, in seeking justice,” stated Bagares.


The complainants, who fled their country, urged the Philippines to assume jurisdiction over the crimes committed in their home country, citing universal jurisdiction.

“This is the first time that such a case has been brought before the Philippines,” Bagares said.

Bagares said the “law allows universal jurisdiction if a crime happens abroad and that crime is classified as a war crime, genocide or crimes against humanity then the Philippines has a duty to prosecute once this crime is brought to its attention.”

Atty. Gilbert Andres, who also represents the complainants, said the complainants went to the Philippines believing the country has a robust mechanism for protecting international humanitarian law.

“Dito dinala kasi bahagi tayo ng Association of Southeast Asian Nations at karatig bansa po tayo ng Myanmar. Naniniwala kami na meron tayong napaka lakas na batas and that’s RA 9851 at ito ay nakalagay na war crimes ay criminal at may universal jurisdiction,” Andres said.

(They brought it here because we are part of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and we are neighboring countries with Myanmar. We believe that we have a very strong law, and that’s Republic Act 9851, which states that war crimes are criminal and have universal jurisdiction.)


Chin State is located in Western Myanmar. Information from UNICEF stated that it has the highest poverty rate.

The situation worsened when the Myanmar military junta entered the State.

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TAGS: military junta, Myanmar, war crime

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