Czech support for UN War Crimes Inquiry on Burma – The Irrawaddy

The Czech Republic has become the third country to back the recommendation made by UN human rights Special Rapporteur on Burma, Tomas Ojea Quintana, that the UN Security Council examine setting up a Commission of Inquiry into war crimes and crimes against humanity in Burma.

In a statement to The Irrawaddy, the Czech foreign ministry said, “We believe that the possibility of establishing a Commission of Inquiry should be seriously examined.”

“Political repression and military attacks against civilians of ethnic nationalities continue in scale and gravity that may entail international crimes under the terms of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court,” the statement said.

The statement added that it “remains concerned at continuous grave human rights violations in Burma/Myanmar” and questioned the efficacy of the regime’s “road map to democracy.”

Meanwhile former Czech President Vaclav Havel, an outspoken and prominent supporter of Aung San Suu Kyi, released a statement that referred to a report titled “Displaced Childhoods,” by the Thai-Burmese border-based Free Burma Rangers (FBR) and its partners on Wednesday that reported that children’s lives are scarred by death, destruction, loss and neglect at the hands of Burmese junta troops in eastern Burma.

“I am appalled by the brutality with which Burmese authorities treat their own citizens with impunity, and I am truly afraid that the situation might get even worse and these attacks escalate later this year when the junta prepares for the elections, the results of which are to be determined by them, not by the people.”

In his message, Havel said, “The people of Burma still suffer today, and it is our duty to stand by the oppressed. I hope that democracy in Burma will be restored, that the ethnic people will have a stake in the political future of Burma, and that children can lead free, full lives.”

Welcoming the news, Mark Farmaner, the director of the Burma UK Campaign, said “real momentum” is gathering behind the call for a commission of inquiry.The Czech declaration makes it the third country to support Mr Ojea Quintana’s recommendation, after Australia and the United Kingdom. The US said that it is “looking closely” at Quintana’s recommendations, according to a statement by political counselor George Kent in Bangkok.

The Czech statement came just days after the National League for Democracy, Burma’s most influential political party, refused to register for the elections scheduled in Burma sometime in 2010.

Rather than have “fake elections legalize his dictatorship,” said Farmaner, referringto junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe, this year is “turning into the year when the international community woke up to the fact that he is criminal and should be behind bars.”

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