The GJC denounces Secretary‐General’s Response to the Conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi as contrary to his mandate under UN Charter
THE GLOBAL JUSTICE CENTER DENOUNCES THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S RESPONSE TO THE
CONVICTION OF AUNG SAN SUU KYI AS CONTRARY TO HIS MANDATE UNDER THE U.N. CHARTER
“It is outrageous that Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon uses the terms “deploring” and
“disappointing” to describe the conviction of Aung San Suu Kyi which is in fact yet
another crime against humanity perpetrated by Senior General Than Shwe. How can
any of us stand by and allow the United Nations to legitimate the junta “constitution”
which provides general amnesties for ICC covered crimes including for perpetrators of
rape as a weapon of war against ethnic women in Burma? What global community is
the United Nations speaking on behalf of?” – GJC President Janet Benshoof
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, under the orders of Senior General Than Shwe, has spent thirteen of the
last nineteen years under house arrest. This imprisonment is a crime and this crime was
compounded by Aung San Suu Kyi being thrown into Insein prison after being arrested on
“sham” charges of aiding a swimmer. After a “sham trial” by “sham judges,” Aung San Suu Kyi
was convicted on August 11, 2009, and sentenced initially to three years hard labor. This
conviction is a crime against humanity by means of a judicial order. Judges are Senior General
Than Shwe’s weapons of choice and Judges U Thaung Nyunt and U Nye Nye Soe, who convicted
Aung San Suu Kyi, are “top performers” in the junta’s judicial arsenal.
What is shocking is that Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon’s remarks on the conviction of Aung San
Suu Kyi are totally at odds with his mandate under the U.N. Charter. As a Representative of the
U.N., and given these circumstances, international law requires Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon
to call for an end to impunity, not convey his “disappointment” and call for “reconciliation”.
The Global Justice Center takes exception to Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon’s remarks which
fail to address the junta’s systematic rule by crime:
1. Rather than urging that the situation in Burma be referred to the International Criminal
Court, which could save the lives of both current political prisoners and future victims,
Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon focuses solely on the Aung San Suu Kyi verdict. By
describing this decision as “disappointing” and ignoring that this crime is part of the
junta’s ongoing crimes against humanity, his remarks undermine the rule of law.
2. Rather than calling for all member states to treat the junta’s upcoming elections as
invalid because they arise from a “constitution” which breaches jus cogens obligations,
Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon instead supports the planned elections and the
constitution behind it. By endorsing a “constitution” which, among other illegalities,
contains amnesties for ICC covered crimes, the Secretary‐General’s support violates
3. Rather than addressing the illegality of the junta’s “constitution”, Secretary‐General Ban
Ki‐moon calls for Senior General Than Shwe to issue a fiat declaring certain "election
reforms," including the involvement of Aung San Suu Kyi in the democratization process.
Both the fiat and the reforms he proposes are prohibited by the junta constitution
which by its own terms cannot be amended until after elections. Further, Aung San Suu
Kyi is constitutionally disqualified from running for President, the nominal “head of
state,” for several reasons including having been married to a British citizen. Aung San
Suu Kyi, along with all women, is excluded from the military and thus precluded from
ever holding the actual position of greatest power, Commander – in – Chief of the
4. Rather than recalling his Report on SCR 1820 to the Security Council on July 15, 2009,
which notes Burma’s impunity for military rapes of ethnic women, Secretary‐General
Ban Ki‐moon ignores both his own Report and SCR 1820 itself. The Secretary‐General’s
call for “national dialogue” instead of criminal accountability violates international law
including the Security Council’s clear mandates for criminal accountability in SCR 1820.
The Global Justice Center urges Secretary‐General Ban Ki‐moon to exercise the prerogatives of
his office to best ensure that crimes of concern to the global community, including the junta’s
perversion of the rule of law by using judges as criminal accomplices, be referred to the ICC.
Further, the U.N. must abstain from any engagement with Senior General Than Shwe, including
discussions around the 2010 elections.
The Global Justice Center urges the international community to join this call for a Security
Council referral of Burma to the International Criminal Court. To do nothing is yet another crime
against the people of Burma and one that none of us can afford. The situation in Burma is a
threat to global peace and security.
For inquiries or more information, please contact McKensey Smith, Development and
Communications Associate, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 212.725.6530 x.208