17 Jan Letpadaung manslaughter charge should be pursued, finds inquiry

Written by Matt Roebuck Published in Latpadaung Read 4156 times
Policemen walk pass as they take security near the site of Chinese-backed copper mine at MoeGyoPyi village, in Monywa, Myanmar, 25 December 2014. Photo: Pyae Sone Aung/EPA
Policemen walk pass as they take security near the site of Chinese-backed copper mine at MoeGyoPyi village, in Monywa, Myanmar, 25 December 2014. Photo: Pyae Sone Aung/EPA

The case of manslaughter, in relation to the death of Daw Khin Win, a 53 year old villager who was shot in the head by police during the riots of December 22 at the Letpadaung Copper Mine Project “should be further pursued according to law,” read a press statement from the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission, released on January 15.

Other recommendations included further investigation into the body charged with the monitoring of the security plan and that all responsible police personnel” should face disciplinary action following their “dereliction in the implementation” of the plan drawn up to deal with any rioting.

Their final recommendation said “the implementation of the security activities regarding the Letpadaung Copper Project should be thoroughly reviewed to prevent loss and damages of this kind from occurring again.”

The report confirmed injury to 11 police force personnel, 11 villagers, including Daw Khin Win and two other individuals receiving gunshot wounds and nine Chinese nationals from the Wanbao company.

The inquiry team formed by the Myanmar National Human Rights Commission consisted of commissioners U Zaw Win, Dr.Nyan Zaw and U Soe Phone Myint.

The inquiry team found that “Police Force No. (28) led by Police Lieutenant Htay Win, encountered 70 villagers who attacked them with slingshots and brickbats from a distance of 30 feet. ”

After a warning not to resort to violence, the police came under renewed attack and suffered injuries, read the press statement.

The statement added that although the last step in the seven step plan that had been agreed to be followed under Penal Code sections 127 and 128, allowed the resort to anti-terror weapons, the police did not follow a number of the established steps.

The inquiry team concluded that it was possible to say that because “the security forces and the villagers were so close to each other that the security plan could not be carried out step by step as the villagers and security forces were within grappling distance of each other.”

It added that the police had been let down by the monitoring group as tear gas and enough fire trucks to make the use of water cannons an effective options, as laid out in the seven step plan, had not been provided.

However it also noted that the simultaneous use of all available emergency measures, the police’s failure to use anti-terror weapons in accordance with established guidelines led to unnecessary injury and the violation of Daw Aung Khin’s human rights under Article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.