1 February 2019
The Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) held its sixth meeting from 29 to 31 January 2019 in Yangon.
ICOE had working sessions respectively with: U Win Mra, Chairperson of the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission (MNHRC); U Thant Myint-U, former advisor to the President of Myanmar and founder and Chairman of the Yangon Heritage Trust; and Dr. Kyaw Yin Hlaing, Advisor to the former President of Myanmar and Director of the Center for Diversity and National Harmony.
Upon the written request by the Leader of Coalition of Concerned Citizens (Myanmar) and his team, the ICOE met with U Hla Htay Win, Member of Parliament and his team. The Commission received documentation and CDs from them.
The members of ICOE discussed the progress made by the Evidence Collection and Verification Team (ECVT) in charge of collecting depositions and evidence. The ECVT has collected 36 depositions in Rakhine. During the collection of these depositions, the witnesses were interviewed individually with the presence of only the legal expert, clerk and translator. The ICOE ensured appropriate security arrangements were made for the witnesses. The witnesses were also assured of their protection as contained in ICOE’s Terms of Reference namely “Protection of all those who are in contact with the ICOE in connection with the investigation, including victims and witnesses; no person shall as a result of such appearance or information, suffer harassment, threats, acts of intimidation, ill-treatment, reprisals or any other prejudicial treatment”. Any witness or person who require protection or feels intimidated, can approach the ICOE’s office or members of the ECVT or the Secretariat.
The ICOE has to date received 43 submissions through its Call for Submissions which has been posted on the Website and other social media such as Facebook, YouTube. The ICOE is looking forward to receiving more submissions.
It also discussed the need to expand its legal team and translators to deal with the increasing number of submissions received.
The ICOE held extensive discussions on their questionnaire related to the event of 25 August 2017 incidents which they intend to submit to the relevant authorities. They also discussed preparations for their second field visit to Rakhine State.
ICOE agreed on the framework of its Interim Report which is to be duly submitted in mid-March 2019 to the President’s Office.
Office of the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE)
Nay Pyi Taw
1 February 2019