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Myanmar at the International Court of Justice
Myanmar at the International Court of Justice
Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena (front) stands for the national anthem during a ceremony to swear in Ranil Wickremesinghe, leader of the United National Party, as Sri Lanka's new prime minister, Colombo, 21 August 2015. REUTERS/Dinuka Liyanawat
Report 278 / Asia

斯里兰卡:启动改革进程

在内战结束七年后,斯里兰卡虽已再次开放民主空间,但局势却——由于反对势力强大、机关管辖分职不清、及经济疲软——日趋紧张。为了使改革真正成功,斯里兰卡的总理和总统应以开放的心态来展开合作、加倍努力解决战争遗留问题——诸如尚逍遥法外的罪犯、在押的泰米尔人、以及军占土地等。

执行摘要

特里帕拉·西里塞纳总统于2015年1月赢得大选,斯里兰卡虽意外得来达成持久和平与和解的机会,但其也因此将面临着更加动荡的前景。西里塞纳政府的初步措施停止并开始扭转马欣达·拉贾帕克萨当权时的独裁和家族统治。其改革议程雄心勃勃:恢复法治、停止纵任腐败和滥权的行为、颁布新宪法、建立与联合国人权理事会(UNHRC)意见一致的战后和解和司法机制、以政策大改来推动经济脱困。然而,改革进展却滞后于大批选民的预期,且因其缺乏连贯性和资源而后续乏力。“国民团结”政府虽扩大了政治中心、并孤立了强硬的民族主义者,但改革的窗口却已开始关闭。若要抓住斯里兰卡前所未有的改革机遇,政府应采取更大胆、更协调的政策,并通过公关活动来提振民众的支持。

步履维艰的进展令政府与其选民之间关系紧张化。北部和东部泰米尔选民几乎一边倒地支持了西里塞纳,但他们却越来越怀疑总统实现和解与正义之承诺的能力。许多僧伽罗“推行善政”的社会活动家则批评政府无能贯彻法治措施,且仍有裙带关系和腐败案件不断滋生;他们还批评政府对腐败和刑事案件的调查软弱无力。随着预算赤字增长、货币储备降低,紧缩政策在遭到抗议后已被搁浅或缩减。与此同时,西里塞纳的斯里兰卡自由党(SLFP)和总理拉尼尔·威克雷明盖的统一国民党(UNP)之间关系亦日趋紧张。而实施改革所需的一线政治曙光则正在消失。

制度因素还妨碍了进展:工作人员太少、专业技能——尤其在涉及和解与过渡司法问题之时——稀缺、权力中心分散且机构臃肿、部门分职重叠、以及总统和总理在治理的重点和方式上各行其是。政府为了得到通过新宪法所需的三分之二多数票,部分此前就滥权的官僚和政客被授予了内阁职位,而政府改革的速度也因此放缓。

西里塞纳斗志受制的另一因素是,他还要和自由党内忠于前总统拉贾帕克萨的派系斗争,这一点在即将到来的地方选举中尤为明显。出于僧伽罗民族主义者对西里塞纳相对温和的和解姿态以及宪法改革提议的不满、以及对会给予对手反击藉口或激怒军方和安全部队的担忧,政府做出了防御性的回应,即,其仅归还了一小部分的军占土地、并只释放了寥寥几名泰米尔囚犯。

自2009年5月内战结束已经七年,和解事宜和问责制度却尚未取得大进展。政府似乎正在放弃过渡期司法计划,特别是在对外国法官和专家职能的撤销。对那些情节严重——尤其是在战争最后几周所犯下的——罪行,政府虽对其置之不理,但对军方和大多数僧伽罗人而言,要他们承认或承担责任却非常困难。政府陷入了两难,其向联合国人权理事会承诺的机制令僧伽罗民族主义者备感疑虑,与此同时,政府安抚僧伽罗人和军方的举措又引起了泰米尔人对政府的怀疑——其是否愿意为战时暴行伸张正义,或是否真心支持宪法改革、并以此达成泰米尔人实现合法自治理想。

为稳固联盟并履行联合国人权理事会规定的义务;政府须精心安排改革,为重建公众信心而加快相关方面的进展,同时为以采取更深入坚实的步骤、提供支持和机构职能所需的资源,并特别是要在极为重要的特别法庭上推动对战争罪的起诉。重要的是,总统和总理之间要建立更好的沟通和合作,实现决策的更透明化,以及权力界定的更清晰化。

为了重塑在北部和东部的泰米尔社区之信心,政府须迅速释放犯人、归还军事占用地、切实追踪失踪者下落、调查并终结虐待行为、并废除“防止恐怖主义法”(PTA)。如要使此类和其他改革具可持续性,总统和总理须掌控军队和国家安全机构,这包括制定可信的安全部门改革计划。如果西里塞纳和主要部长们决心通过推行宪法改革而长久地解决种族冲突,那他们便必须加大对权力下放的公共力度。

不再有罪不罚和恢复法治是受全国瞩目的议题,而在僧伽罗南部,善政和反腐公民运动的普及亦反映出了这一点。为了与所有族群和地区产生更广泛的共鸣,作为法治和善政议程的组成部分,政府和公民社会应就解决战争遗留问题而提出措施。政府如要起诉拉贾帕克萨政府统治下的重要腐败和政治杀戮案件,那其则需要通过持续的公关活动来谋求支持,公关上,政府应阐明国家改革后的广泛前景、并宣传各倡议间的联系以及他们为所有社区带来的好处。

长期运作不良的政治体制已卷土重来,政府将自己与拉贾帕克萨时代区分开来的能力本对其政治生存至关重要,但这种能力却已开始消褪。若要令所有社区的民族主义者和宗教沙文主义者的力量不再壮大,并重新点燃民众对西里塞纳所宣扬的民主改革的信念,那政府便必须协力启动已岌岌可危的改革进程。

科伦坡/布鲁塞尔,2016年5月18日

A billboard depicting Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Su Kyi with the three military ministers in front of a background showing the building of the International Court of Justice in The Hague is displayed along a main road in Hpa-an, Karen State. AFP
Q&A / Asia

Myanmar at the International Court of Justice

On 10 December, the International Court of Justice convened to hear an opening request in a genocide case filed against Myanmar for its atrocities against Rohingya Muslims. In this Q&A, Crisis Group expert Richard Horsey looks at the legal and diplomatic stakes of these proceedings.

Why is Myanmar before the International Court of Justice?

The Gambia has lodged a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the principal UN judicial body based in The Hague, alleging violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (usually known as the Genocide Convention) in Myanmar’s treatment of ethnic Rohingya Muslims. The charges stem from atrocities committed by Myanmar’s security forces in northern Rakhine State, which have forced over 700,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh since August 2017. The Gambia, relying on the Convention’s provision that the ICJ can adjudicate disputes over such charges, brought this case on behalf of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation. The allegations against Myanmar include responsibility for genocidal acts against the Rohingya and failure to prevent and punish genocide, among others.

The Gambia has also asked the ICJ to order “provisional measures”, the equivalent of an injunction in domestic law, authorising steps to protect the parties’ rights pending the case’s final adjudication. Hearings at the court from 10-12 December – at which Aung San Suu Kyi will represent Myanmar – are dealing with this request for provisional measures. Both The Gambia and Myanmar have retained top international lawyers as counsel.

The allegations against Myanmar include responsibility for genocidal acts against the Rohingya and failure to prevent and punish genocide, among others.

Two other countries – the Netherlands and Canada – have indicated that they will support The Gambia’s case. They have called on all state parties to the Genocide Convention to do the same. One possibility is that the Netherlands and Canada will become “intervening states”, a status that would give them access to court documents and the right to participate in oral proceedings, without being formal parties to the dispute.

A decision on provisional measures is expected within weeks. But the case itself will probably be long and convoluted, with the court taking years to render its final decision. The diplomatic and reputational impact is thus likely to be most immediate and consequential.

Why is Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s top civilian leader, speaking at the ICJ hearing this week and what does she hope to achieve?

In addition to a legal team, states involved in ICJ cases must nominate an “agent” empowered to represent the state and make commitments on its behalf. Aung San Suu Kyi is Myanmar’s agent, in her capacity as foreign minister (she also holds the title of state counsellor). A justice minister or an attorney general normally plays this role; it is extremely rare for a political figure of her prominence to do so. Aung San Suu Kyi likely feels that as the country’s de facto leader she has the primary responsibility to respond to The Gambia’s claims, and also that she is the person best qualified to do so – given her fluent English and experience on the world stage.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s public statements over the last two years, and what she is known to have said in private, suggest that she believes no genocide has occurred in the Rohingya case. She thinks that, on the contrary, the outside world has deeply misunderstood and exaggerated the Rohingya crisis. She no doubt intends to use the legal setting in The Hague to try to set the record straight. She also no doubt understands that the eyes of the world will be on her at this pivotal moment for Myanmar. The global audience – particularly in the West – will expect her to go much farther than she has in previous speeches in acknowledging the security forces’ wrongdoing and committing to address it. It remains to be seen how far she will go in this direction.

What impact will Aung San Suu Kyi’s appearance in The Hague have within Myanmar?

Views on the Rohingya crisis inside Myanmar are almost diametrically opposed to those outside the country. The near ubiquitous narrative in the country – coming from its leaders and promulgated by the local media – is that the outside world misunderstands what has happened with the Rohingya. Myanmar thinks that its primary problem is therefore one of communication: how to explain the “real situation” more clearly and effectively.

Since The Gambia filed the ICJ case on 11 November, and Aung San Suu Kyi decided to represent Myanmar personally in The Hague, a wave of nationalist fervour has swept the country. Billboards and mass rallies endorse her mission at the ICJ; even the military – her nemesis during fifteen years of house arrest – is giving her its unequivocal backing. The civilian government is likewise soliciting vocal support from the people for the state counsellor’s defence of the nation. President Win Myint’s wife even conducted a ritual at Aung San Suu Kyi’s “eternal peace pagoda” in Naypyitaw, invoking the spirits to confer success on her efforts.

Since [...] Aung San Suu Kyi decided to represent Myanmar personally in The Hague, a wave of nationalist fervour has swept the country.

This outpouring of support will play well for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy in the November 2020 elections, though electoral advantage is unlikely to be her primary motivation. Her stance for Myanmar in The Hague could also lead to a slight thaw in the chilly relations between the civilian government and the military. But the risk is that unleashing the forces of narrow nationalism will not only silence voices calling for human rights protections and greater tolerance for diversity in the country but also postpone any honest national reckoning with what happened to the Rohingya. Such an accounting is the only way that Myanmar can get out of its international legal and diplomatic predicament.

What impact will the ICJ case have on international perceptions of Myanmar?

A moment of truth is fast approaching. Part of Aung San Suu Kyi’s international audience at The Hague will consist of some Asian governments that are determined to maintain close bilateral ties with Naypyitaw. She might say enough to satisfy them, but she will have more difficulty meeting the expectations of Western governments. It is hard to imagine, moreover, given the documentation of the Rohingya’s plight, that she will convince the many sceptical observers in the global media and civil society that Myanmar’s state is misunderstood and unfairly maligned. In defending Myanmar as part of proceedings live-streamed worldwide, she will necessarily be defending the military against genocide charges. Anyone can easily compare the substance of this defence with the numerous third-party reports about why so many Rohingya fled northern Myanmar and how they are living stuck in Bangladesh. Anyone can also read about the Rohingya who continue to live in precarious circumstances at home. Myanmar could lose in the court of international public opinion well before the ICJ makes any legal ruling.