Myanmarese mount ‘test case’ of PH law | Global News

Myanmarese mount ‘test case’ of PH law

By: - Reporter / @santostinaINQ
/ 05:40 AM October 26, 2023

HOLIEST OF HOLIES The Shwedagon Pagoda remains resplendentin Yangon amid the turmoil caused by Myanmar’s ruling junta.

HOLIEST OF HOLIES The Shwedagon Pagoda remains resplendent in Yangon amid the turmoil caused by Myanmar’s ruling junta.—SHWEDAGONPAGODA.COM

Five Myanmarese on Wednesday filed an international law suit at the Department of Justice (DOJ), effectively testing the Philippines’ resolve to enforce its own law.

Guided by Filipino lawyers, the five Myanmarese, who all fled their country because of experienced atrocities, filed a 160-page complaint against 10 officers of the Myanmar military for alleged violations of Republic Act No. 9851, or the Philippine Act on Crimes Against International Humanitarian Law, Genocide, and Other Crimes Against Humanity.


“This is a landmark suit,” said one of the Filipino lawyers, Romel Bagares. “It’s the first time that we have a case such as this.”


“We are expecting the Philippines is where we can find some form of justice for the atrocities that our people suffered under the military regime in Burma,” said Salai Ling, one of the complainants and the deputy executive director of the Chin Human Rights Organization, which documents reported atrocities committed by the Myanmar military.

“Unfortunately, Burma has been forgotten by the rest of the international community and also people in our neighboring countries tend to not really see what’s happening in Burma,” Ling, referring to Myanmar’s former name, told reporters after the filing of their complaint.


“With this case, we are hoping that some light will [shine] on the plight of our people and that the Philippine government will consider our plea for justice here,” he said, adding that they are counting on the solidarity and support of Filipinos and the entire Association of Southeast Asian Nations.

Similar to the accusations of Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, the crimes alleged in the DOJ complaint include the killing of a pastor and two other church leaders; the burning of Christian churches; the intentional targeting and destruction of houses; and the intentional starvation of civilians.

One of the complainants, a daughter of a Baptist church leader who was shot to death in 2021 by the Myanmarese military, claimed that she fled to Canada due to the atrocities of the Myanmar military against the people of Chin State.

The four other complainants claimed they were also forced to relocate to other countries after the respondents burned their houses.


Lawyer Gilbert Andres, one of those who helped the five Myanmarese, said their clients believed in finding justice in the Philippines.

Justice sought

“They really [came] here because they want to find justice here in the Philippines, in the belief that we have a robust mechanism for protection of international humanitarian law,” Andres said.

“We believe we have a strong law and that is RA 9851, the International Human Rights Law Act),” Andres added.

Sought for comment, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remuilla said the DOJ would have to study and evaluate the complaint first.

“This is a very novel complaint. This is the first time that such a complaint was filed within our jurisdiction,” he said in a press briefing.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

“This complaint involves war crimes … there are victims asking the help of our justice system in fighting for their rights. This is very novel. We have to study and evaluate it first. If we find the complaint sufficient in form and substance, that’s the time we’ll make those people involved accountable for the allegations,” he added.

TAGS: Philippine law test case

© Copyright 1997-2024 | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.