Soldiers who killed 7 civilians in Anan Kwin village to face criminal charges

April 11, 2019

HURFOM: As previously reported, seven villagers, including 3 children, were shot dead by members of Burma Army Light Infantry Battalion (LIB) No. 339 in Anan Kwin village, Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township, on April 5th 2019.

HURFOM has now learned that the eighth victim, who was initially reported to have died in hospital, regained consciousness on April 10th 2019. According to a friend of the victim, Mi Poe sustained serious injuries to her left abdomen and is still in critical condition.

It is a wait-and-see situation, and we’re not sure if she will recover,” said the friend.

The killings were carried out by two members of LIB No. 339, Private Myint Wai, who was arrested in Phayar village on the day of the incident, and Private Myein Chan, who was arrested in Anan Kwin village on April 6th 2019.

According to a post published by the Office of Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services on dated April 8th 2019, the two gunmen will be tried by court-martial on charges of absence without leave, offences in respect of property, and intoxication. Of particular significance, the post also revealed that under section 72 of the Defence Services Act, the two gunmen will be transferred to a civilian court to face criminal charges for the killing of seven villagers.

We’re happy to hear that the military will actually punish these men because in the past, soldiers were never held accountable for crimes like these. But it’s important that both cases are transparent [the court-martial and criminal court proceedings] so the public can see the soldiers brought to justice,” said a member of the Karen National Union’s Kyar Inn Seik Kyi Township administrative committee.

As established in article 20(b) of the 2008 Constitution of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, “the Defence Services has the right to independently administer and adjudicate all affairs of the armed forces.” For this reason, soldiers are rarely prosecuted for crimes they commit, allowing the Tatmadaw to act against civilian populations with relative impunity.

News that the Myint Wai and Myein Chan will be brought before a civilian court to face criminal charges is encouraging, and will hopefully provide the victims, their families, and residents of Anan Kwin village with the justice they deserve.

HURFOM will continue to monitor this story as it develops.


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