Five ethnic Chins have filed a complaint with the Philippine Department of Justice to investigate the war crimes committed against Myanmar’s minority Chin Christians. “This is a unique case because it is the first time that a war crime has been filed in the Philippines, and it is filed under Philippine law called the 2010 International Humanitarian Act. According to this law, there is international jurisdiction.” Romil Begres, a Filipino attorney, said.
In September 2021, the Burmese army killed a pastor and two heads of a Christian church in Thantlang, Chin State. The complaint follows a series of deliberate attacks on 10 churches and the burning of hundreds of houses between August 2021 and 2022.
In order to prosecute the coup leader General Min Aung Hlaing as well as 9 people who are still serving and have served in the military, Filipino lawyers on behalf of the people of Myanmar filed a criminal complaint with the Department of Justice in Manila. Among those accused is former Burmese military officer and Chin State Chief Minister Dr. Vung Suan Thang.
Now, the case was filed by Filipino lawyers on behalf of 5 ethnic Chin peoples living in Australia, Britain, Canada and India. If the Philippine Department of Justice decides to open a case against the 10 accused, the lawyers said they could send a summons to Myanmar authorities or send a summons through diplomatic channels.
“Today is a truly historic day and I hope that with the solidarity and support of the people of the Philippines and the people of the ASEAN region, we can get some form of justice for the brutality suffered by the people of Myanmar,” Salai Len, one of the five complainants from the Chin Human Rights Group, told reporters in Manila.