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August 08, 2020

Preservation of evidence and property in areas of northern Rakhine State

Republic of the Union of Myanmar
Office of the President
Directive No 2/2020

1st Waning of Tagu 1381 ME
(8 April 2020)

1. The Government of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar established the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) on 30th July 2018 as part of its national initiative to address reconciliation, peace, stability and development in Rakhine. The Independent Commission was tasked to investigate the allegations of human rights violations and related issues, following the terrorist attacks by ARSA. The Commission submitted its final report to the President on 20th January 2020.
2. The Government of Myanmar has forwarded the final report of ICOE to the Commander in Chief of the Tatmadaw (Myanmar Defence Services) and to the Union Attorney General. The Union Attorney General’s Office and the Office of Judge Advocate General have announced that they are undertaking criminal investigations of incidents mentioned in the ICOE’s report.
3. The Government of Myanmar took necessary steps, on the ground as well as through the use of satellite imagery, to document and inventory the current state of the sites in question.
4. To assist and ensure that criminal investigations can be undertaken, all Ministries and the Rakhine State government, their agencies, departments, offices, and personnel are prohibited from destroying, or removing or permitting the destruction, or removal of:
i. any property, immovable or movable, in any area of northern Rakhine State, that may provide evidence of events referred to in the ICOE’s final report;
ii. anything that may provide evidence of:
a. killing members of a group;
b. causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group;
c. deliberately inflicting on a group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part;
d. imposing measures intended to prevent births within a group;
e. forcibly transferring children of a group to another group.
5. In paragraph 4 (ii) above, “group” means any national, ethnical, racial or religious group.
6. All ministries and Rakhine State government are further directed to preserve documents, images, videos, audios and other media related to the events that occurred in northern Rakhine State referred to in the ICOE’s final report.
7. Any person suspected of violating this directive shall be referred to the appropriate national criminal justice system for necessary action and action may also be taken against them under section 201 of the Penal Code.
8. Each ministry and Rakhine State Government shall report to the Office of the President on the measures it has taken to abide with the directive.

 

By Order,

Khin Latt
Permanent Secretary

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