Rights group files suit in Germany against Myanmar military

 A human rights group and 16 people from Myanmar have filed a criminal complaint in Germany seeking punishment of Myanmar's generals for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity they alleged were committed in that country after their 2021 government takeover and during a 2017 crackdown on Muslim Rohingya.

Fortify Rights, a complainant in the case announced Tuesday in Bangkok, noted "the individuals responsible for crimes related to both have yet to be held accountable."

The federal prosecutor's office in Germany, where the legal complaint was filed last Friday, declined to comment on it. The office would have to decide whether to file an indictment before the matter can go to court, a potentially lengthy process.

The actions of Myanmar's generals also are under investigation by the International Criminal Court and in a genocide case at the International Court of Justice, also known as the World Court.

But activists seeking accountability also have filed cases in national courts in Argentina, Turkey and now Germany as well, under the concept of universal jurisdiction.

The legal principle allows prosecution for mass atrocities regardless of location or nationality when the offenses are so severe they represent crimes against the entire international community, said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer and co-founder at Fortify Rights.

"An investigation and subsequent prosecution of these crimes under German law would serve to punish those who have committed the gravest of crimes, prevent future crimes by perpetrators in Myanmar, and signal to other would-be perpetrators in Myanmar and elsewhere that accountability for atrocity crimes cannot be avoided," Fortify Rights said in a statement.

The complaint was...

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