Monday, July 18, 2011

Former Burmese military intelligence, now Australian citizen, confesses to war crimes in Burma -

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Subject: Australian (former Burmese military intelligence officer) admits war crimes in Burma (involvement in over 100 executions and murders of dissidents)
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Date: Monday, July 18, 2011, 7:14 AM

Australian admits war crimes in Burma
18 July 2011 | 07:48:05 PM | Source: AAP

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/1570945/Australian-admits-war-crimes-in-Burma

An Australian citizen has admitted to executing 24 anti-government
protesters and student leaders as an officer in Burmese military
intelligence.

Htoo Htoo Han, who came to Australia as a refugee in 1996 and has
since been involved in campaigns aimed at highlighting human rights
abuses in Burma, says he also had indirect involvement in at least 100
other murders.

Han says he led a group which infiltrated student organisations,
identifying and targeting leading activists.

"We destroy them ... destroy means kill," Han said.

He said he performed the executions during the 1988 anti-government
uprising that swept Burma, leaving thousands dead.

The father of three young children says he has come forward because he
can no longer live with his guilt.

"I did it, I am a war criminal," Han said.

"For so long I have lived like an animal.

"Now I want to release what I carry inside for 20 years. I want to say
sorry to the mothers and fathers of the people I killed."

He said he killed his victims with a bullet to the back of the head:
"Just bang, very quick. I don't do torture."

He said he was aware of others who were buried alive and their bodies
incinerated.

Han's confession has prompted calls from human rights groups for the
Australian government to press for a United Nations inquiry into
abuses in Burma.

"What makes the situation more urgent is that it's still happening,"
said Debbie Stothard, spokesperson for the Alternative ASEAN Network.

"There is no shortage of evidence even from people who committed those
crimes themselves."

Burmese activist groups based in Thailand said Han, who now lives in
Brisbane, was known to them, one senior figure expressing doubt over
the motives behind Han's admissions.

The secretary of the support group, the Assistance Association for
Political Prisoners, Tate Naing, said Han, had returned to Thailand a
number of times since being granted asylum in Australia.

"He was a very bad man," Naing said.

"I know his history, so I don't want to recommend him."

Han, 44, claims to have posed as a political prisoner while undercover in Burma.

But Naing suggests Han's failure on his recent visits to Thailand to
visit the AAPP base in the border town of Mae Sot is reason to doubt
his allegiances to the group.

Other Burmese sources questioned whether Han had genuinely rejected
the Burmese regime.

Han says he turned his back on his former Burmese masters before
coming to this country, a decision he claims resulted in an attempt on
his own life.

Since arriving here he has campaigned widely against his former
government, speaking in schools and using his artistic skills to focus
on repression and human rights abuses around the world.

He insists he has not engaged in any criminal activity in Australia.

He acknowledges he may never see his children again as a result of his
admissions, but he hopes they will come to understand what he has
done.

"I am prepared for this. I think my wife and kids for sure will cry a
lot," he said.

"But in Burma a thousand mothers cry."

An Australian Federal Police spokesman said it would consider what
action, if any, it would take in the absence of a complaint from the
country in which the alleged crimes were committed.

Opposition foreign affairs spokeswoman Julie Bishop said Burma's
military regime must be referred immediately to the International
Criminal Court (ICC).

"Mr Han's confession must be taken seriously and referred to relevant
international authorities, including the ICC, for further
investigation," she said.

The government has so far not commented.

=================================================================
Aust citizen admits war crimes in Burma

Mike Hedge, Senior Correspondent
July 18, 2011 - 11:54AM

http://news.smh.com.au/breaking-news-national/aust-citizen-admits-war-crimes-in-burma-20110718-1hkug.html


AAP

A Burmese refugee living in Australia has confessed to committing 24
executions while working undercover for the Burmese military regime
and says he was involved in at least another 100 murders.

Htoo Htoo Han, now an Australian citizen, says he performed the
executions during the 1988 anti-government uprising that swept Burma,
resulting in thousands of deaths.

"I did it, I am a war criminal," Han said.

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"For so long I have lived like an animal.

"Now I want to release what I carry inside for 20 years. I want to say
sorry to the mothers and fathers of the people I killed."

Han said he led a group that infiltrated student groups and
masqueraded as protesters.

He says as leader of the group he was also indirectly involved in at
least 100 other murders.

"We destroy them ... destroy means kill," Han said.

He said he killed his victims with a bullet to the back of the head,
but is aware of others who were buried alive and their bodies
incinerated.

"Just bang, very quick. I don't do torture," Han said.

Han, 44, now a father of three young children, has come forward
because he says he can no longer live with his guilt.

He expects to be dealt with and is ready to turn himself over to
Australian authorities.

Han says he worked as an undercover officer in Burmese military
intelligence from 1987 until 1992, leading a group whose main role was
to identify targets and kill them.

An Australian citizen for more than a decade, Han says he turned his
back on his former Burmese masters before coming to this country, a
decision that he claims resulted in an attempt on his own life.

Since arriving here he has campaigned widely in Australia against his
former government, speaking in schools and using his artistic skills
to focus on repression and human rights abuses around the world.

He insists he has not engaged in any criminal activity in Australia.

In 2003, SBS television made a documentary around a campaign he
conducted in Australia to raise awareness of human rights abuses in
Burma.

Han says he is prepared to face whatever justice he deserves,
including a long jail term.

He also acknowledges he may never see his children again, but he hopes
they will come to understand what he has done.

"I am prepared for this. I think my wife and kids for sure will cry a
lot," he said.

"But in Burma a thousand mothers cry."

Han said he chose to approach the media with his story, fearing it
might not be told if he went directly to authorities.

© 2011 AAP