Chapter 4 - Human Rights Violations - Killings

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One of the main types of violations that the Truth and Justice Committee (TJC) investigated is killings and/or deaths in detention. In order to be considered a killing under international law, three elements must be present:
  1. A taking of human life
  2. Illegality 
  3. State action
The TJC found 36 killings took place in the ABSDF-Northern Camp in 1991-92 that fit this definition of a human rights violation under international law. In all cases the TJC found that a life was taken (Element #1) and that the ABSDF-Northern Camp authority was acting as the State (Element #3). In line with international law, the Committee also found that the killings that took place were “illegal” as they were unlawful, unreasonable, or unjust (Element #2). 

The TJC uncovered a pattern to the killings and organized them into the following four categories:
  • Summary Executions
  • Killings in Detention during Interrogations
  • Deaths in Detention
  • Killings that Took Place Outside the Mandate of the Truth and Justice Committee

1. Summary Executions

The Truth and Justice Committee documented a total of 17 killings that could be categorized as executions. The vast majority (15) took place during the infamous executions on February 12, 1992 at the headquarters of the ABSDF-Northern. The other two cases took place earlier in 1992 in the PhaPha Kant area.

1. List of Execution Cases

1.1.1 The February 12, 1992 Executions
While February 12 is a historically significant day for Burma (Union Day), it is one of the most tragic days in the history of the All Burma Students’ Democratic Front (ABSDF).  On February 12, 1992, 15 ABSDF members including Htun Aung Kyaw, Chairperson of the ABSDF-Northern, were executed. During its work the TJC recorded many statements that shed light on what happened that day. These included statements from survivors, eyewitnesses, and those involved in the incident. Below is a summary of what they told the Committee.

The executions began late in the afternoon on February 12, while the detainees were having an early dinner. One detainee who spoke to the Committee recalled the meal being different from others:

“On that day of execution, we were give dinner early. I don’t remember whether it was beef bone soup or something [but it] was better than usual. It was some sort of soup. While eating, names were called up, but someone interrupted and saying, ‘wait until we are finished eating.’ I was wondering while eating if there was there any military offensive outside. We were in the detention so we didn’t have any information about what was going on outside.  The only way that we had to obtain information was when we met someone outside of the cell. So I was thinking if there were a military offensive, they wouldn’t take us with them. They would kill us all. So all of us were very nervous and terrified.”

I remember I shared my meal with Bo Bo and Maung Maung Kywe. Bo Bo was swallowing the rice with soup and telling me ‘Nang Saw, put some more soup.’ Maung Maung Kywe said ‘No more soup. I want to enjoy its taste.’ I recalled what he had said. I didn’t listen to him seriously but I never forget what he had said after all the things were over.”

All of the survivors that spoke to the Committee remembered names being called and people being taken away:

“ …‘Time for the prison-transfer’ was yelled by La Seng. I remember his voice. It was a very energetic voice and I felt that something was about to happen. I never forget that voice. ‘Htun Aung Kyaw, you get up, Cho Gyi, you get up,’ that they called. There were some others too. I don’t know how many were called to get up….”

“They called up the names and took the people out. Ma Nge (Nang Aung Htwe Kyi) was included first. Kyar Lay gave Ma Nge slippers to put on. After we finished eating, we were all blindfolded and sitting. They called the names one by one.  Ma Nge was called but then they said, ‘No Ma Nge, No.’ Kyar Lay asked Ma Nge to sit down. Ma Nge wasn’t taken….”

“I don’t remember how many names were called. It was quite a lot. They were taken outside of the cell. I think they had their shackles off outside of the detention…”

The executions began shortly after the detainees were taken away. Some of those who were left behind in the cells told the Committee about hearing gunshots:

“It was almost dark …about 6 pm. I heard two rounds of gunshots. Two or three gunshots, I vaguely remember. Then it became dark about 7 pm.”

“A while later I heard gunshots. It was about 5 or 6 pm.”

“None of them came back…I heard two or four gunshots. I didn’t count. I heard it. So I felt confused. They took many people but only a few gunshots. So maybe they killed a couple of us before others. We couldn’t know as we were blindfolded until they came back. Later (we knew) they killed all of them…”

Afterwards some of the guards that had taken the detainees away returned to the cells, where survivors heard them speaking to each other. During the night and the following day, it became clear to the survivors that their fellow detainees had been killed.

“Then they [the ones who had removed the detainees] returned to the cell and we found out they had killed all of those taken. We knew who was killed the following day. …They were saying…they had someone’s head smashed by mattock [pickaxe]… or they had Htun Aung Kyaw’s smashed by mattock...or such thing we heard. We also heard them saying they shot Khin Cho Oo.”

“It was La Seng and 2 other guys too. They came back and spoke a couple of sentences. One of them said ‘Quite a lot of people remain even after that.’ He said that.”

The Committee took statements from four eyewitnesses. According to all of their accounts the detainees were taken to Assam Hill, which was named after a student from Assam who was executed there for ill-discipline many decades before. The detainees were asked to stand in front of open pit(s). There are conflicting accounts of what took place. One eyewitness said there was only one pit while another said there were four.

“It was quite a big space. I saw a big tall pit. Yes. Only one pit but a long one, like a canal. It was just like in a Japanese movie.”

“Then they took each of them and dug 4 pits.”

According to all four accounts, the execution orders were read first. The victims were asked in which manner they wanted to be killed. Some allegedly chose to be killed by guns while others asked to die by sword.

One witness told the Committee:

“I was there (on the Hill) until after the orders were read out. They were taken there. I listened to the order readings. Then they were taken to the execution place. I wasn’t there when the executions were conducted. Some were killed by swords while some asked to be killed by gunshots; that I found out when they came back. Htun Aung Kyaw, Khin Cho Oo and the other one asked to be killed by gun. I wasn’t there.”

“The one who read the orders was Majatu (Warrant Officer) Aung Ye Soe.”

“...I was there on the Hill. [Can you tell us about it?] Myo Win killed all of them. Some asked to be killed by gun. There were many others. Than Chaung was at the other side. [So Myo Win mainly led the killings?] Yes [With what did he kill?] By sword. Some were killed by gun. “

Witnesses claim that the detainees were given a moment to speak before they were executed. Some remembered their last words and messages.

“I don’t know what happened to Kyaw Kyaw Min. Maybe he was shocked. I have no idea how long he was keeping a small red stone in his pocket. It was not a real gem. He took it out and gave it to Chief of Staff [Than Chaung] saying, ‘CS, please take this stone that I have kept for so long, wanting to give it to you.’ I think he was so frightened once he knew he was going to die.”

“After reading the orders, they asked the victims ‘Any message for your home?’ They asked Htun Aung Kyaw, ‘What do you want to pray for?’ Htun Aung Kyaw said, ‘I have got nothing to say.’”

Khin Cho Oo, the only female detainee in the group, faced additional indignity prior to her death. She was allegedly asked to strip before she was executed. One witness said that he heard about it but did not see it:

“I didn’t see that part. Some said they took her clothes off.”

Another eyewitness however gave a detailed account:

“It was the turn for Khin Cho Oo. Before he [Myo Win] did it, he told his men that ‘Guys, take her clothes off, let my guys watch, they haven’t watched porn for a long time.’  Khin Cho Oo begged him, saying ‘please don’t do it, if you wanted to kill me, just do it. Don’t make me embarrassed before others.’ She begged him while crying. But they took her clothes off. The naked Khin Cho Oo paid her last respect to Myo Win by sitting on top of the pit. She said, ‘I beg your pardon if I have ever done any misbehavior to you, VCS, or others, verbally or in any other form.’ Then she worshipped him and asked him to kill her by gun. Myo Win grabbed my M21 from me and shot at her. And she was buried naked. She was buried alone in one pit.”

Some witnesses also spoke of the brutality of the killings.

“Then they cut off Ko Htun Aung Kyaw’s head but it didn’t go apart. He got up by gritting his teeth. He got his face smashed by shovel. His teeth had fallen out. Tin Soe Oo had smashed him by shovel. He was from Namar. The main person who killed with a sword was Myo Win using his own sword. In the beginning he could cut the heads off sharply, but later he couldn’t. May be his hands got tired...”

After the executions were complete, eyewitnesses concur that the pit(s) where the bodies lay were filled. Those involved returned to the camp.

The ABSDF Truth and Justice Committee confirms that fifteen members of the ABSDF-Northern were killed on February 12, 1992. Although the exact details of the killings were not established, the Committee believes that the victims were killed by gun, beheaded by sword, and/or beaten to death with shovels and mattocks (a type of pickaxe). Khin Cho Oo, the only female detainee to be summarily executed, endured the additional humiliation of being stripped naked before being killed.

While the Committee can confirm that the fifteen were executed, there are still many unanswered questions about how many people were involved, and which individuals were responsible for which violations. There is strong evidence that Myo Win was present and responsible for some, if not all, of the killings done by sword.

The Truth and Justice Committee has confirmed the names and titles of those executed on 12 February 1992. They are:
  1. Htun Aung Kyaw (Chairperson)
  2. Freddy Aung Than (aka) Cho Gyi (UG Cell in Mandalay)
  3. Kyaw Kyaw Min (Private)
  4. Yan Aung (Private)
  5. Hla Myint (aka) Zaw Ye Thwe (Private)
  6. Maung Maung Kywe (Information Department)
  7. Aung Phoe (aka) Aye Thet Latt (Private)
  8. Khin Cho Oo  (Private)
  9. Thar Du (Company Commander)
  10. Thet Naing (Lance Corporal)
  11. Htay Myint Win (Corporal)
  12. Maung Maung (Private)
  13. Aye Myint  (Private)
  14. U Thaung Myint (Organizing Department)
  15.  Tu Tu (Warrant Office)

1.1.2 The Executions of Yan Shin and Aung Myint Tun (Paw Thut)

The Committee also took statements about the arrests and executions of two ABSDF members in the Pha Kant area from Ko Min Htay, who was a Platoon Commander there at the time. According to Min Htay, the two ABSDF members (Yan Shin and Paw Thut) were arrested and interrogated on allegations of being spies. He could not remember the exact date of the executions but believed that they took place sometime in 1992 before February 12. Min Htay told the Committee in his own words about Yan Shin:

“A telegram came in while I was there. Yak Kha was there too. He has already passed away from some health problems. He told me that the Headquarters asked to interrogate Yan Shin. So I told him that ‘Well, I will ask him because we are very close.’ Personally, he [Yan Shin] had respect for me. I saw him while he was already detained by the order of the Headquarters. I told Yan Shin ‘You tell them who you are.’ He told me, ‘Saya (as I was his one of the trainers), I have nothing to say but please convey my message to my home that I was killed in action. That’s all I have got to say.’ Then I left him. The following day, he was executed.”

Min Htay gave the following testimony about Aung Myint Tun (Paw Thut):

“… At that time, two of my men were executed. I only knew one by his nickname as Paw Thut. He was from Katha. When it happened to Paw Thut, many of his fellow men were very sad and asked me how I could protect him. I didn’t know how but I was asked by my fellow men. We thought we could protect him. We had deep attachments between us. Finally, we let it happen. I didn’t go and see him or ask him questions or interrogate him. That happened in Pha Kant area.” 

Min Htay did not witness the executions and could not provide details on what happened, who was involved, or what was done with the bodies afterwards.

The Committee believes that the account of Min Htay is credible and that Yan Shin and Aung Myint Tun (Paw Thut) were likely executed on orders from ABSDF-Northern Headquarters. There is a need for more investigation to find out exactly what happened, and to determine who was responsible.

2. Killings during Interrogation

The Committee documented a total of 11 killings at the ABSDF-Northern Camp that it believes took place during interrogation sessions. The first killings coincided with the first arrests and interrogations of ABSDF members in Bamaw in early August 1991. Killings began to happen at the Laisin/Pajau Camp shortly afterward in August 1991 as more arrests were made there. The vast majority of killings during interrogation (9 out of 11) are believed to have taken place within the months of August and September 1991 alone, coinciding with the mass arrests of over 106 ABSDF members. 

The other two killings are believed to have taken place in December 1991 and early 1992 (before February 12, 1992) but involved two detainees (Kyaw Wai and Kyaw Kyaw Oo) who were among the first arrested and detained in August and September 1991.  

Interrogations took place in secluded locations, with few witnesses. This made it challenging for the Committee to determine exactly what happened.  Although there is insufficient evidence to determine the exact nature of the killing/cause of death in many cases, the Committee strongly believes that many of the deaths are linked to torture inflicted on victims during interrogations. This contention is supported by the testimony of survivors who gave evidence of their own torture in the same locations where those who were killed were taken (with known interrogators) and last seen alive. In some cases survivors also gave testimony to the Committee about seeing those killed with injuries likely to have sustained from torture in the days preceding their deaths.

In some cases killings during interrogations were also confirmed by eyewitnesses and guards.  These interviewees were often unable to provide the Committee with detailed information. Nonetheless their statements help to shed light on what took place.

The Committee finds that all of these killings were extrajudicial, with detainees having no access to justice or due process before their deaths.

2.1 List of Killings During Interrogations

2.1.1 The Killing of Soe Min Aung
The desertion, arrest, torture and subsequent killing of Soe Min Aung mark the beginning of the 1991 – 1992 incidents in the ABSDF-Northern Camp. At the time Soe Min Aung was serving as personal aid for Battalion No. 501 Commander Theik Tun Oo. In his interview with the Committee, Theik Tun Oo confirmed that Soe Min Aung deserted on August 6, 1991; just before the third anniversary of the 8888 Popular Uprising.._ He was re-captured at Shweli and taken back to the Bamaw Post for interrogation.

Many survivors from the Bamaw Post told the Committee about the torture and killing of Soe Min Aung. All of these were secondhand accounts based on what they had heard in camp. For example one survivor named Ohn Kyaine (aka) Okay, who was based in Bamaw at the time and later detained, told the TJC what he had heard:

“Aung Than (Ba Gyan) was interrogating him [Soe Min Aung]. I don’t know whether or not it was true but I heard they put the burned iron rod (onto his legs). They were rotten before he died; that I heard.”

The Committee also took statements from two people who said that they witnessed the incidents. Pouk Kway, the Company Commander of the  ABSDF Headquarters Security Unit, was one of the eyewitnesses and confirmed that torture took place:

“He [Soe Min Aung]was beaten with a big stick. His skin was peeled off from his heel to toes. He didn’t seem to make it at all.”

Another eyewitness, Kyaw Swar Win Maung, who was also later detained, told the Committee about Soe Min Aung’s last moments:

“Soe Min Aung was dying after all. He was then taken and buried alive but Tar Tee fired three rounds from above to make sure he was dead.”

Having heard multiple secondhand accounts and testimony from two eyewitnesses, the Committee finds that Soe Min Aung was tortured extensively while being interrogated at Bamaw Post; and was killed during interrogation. Although there is insufficient evidence to conclude which individuals were responsible for the torture and killing of Soe Min Aung, the Committee is certain that members of the Intelligence Unit played a  role in conducting interrogations. The Committee also believes that Battalion Commander Aung Than (Ba Gyan) was present.

 2.1.2 The Killing of Aye Kyaw
The Committee heard several secondhand accounts about the torture and killing of an ABSDF member who worked as a teacher in a village near the Bamaw Post. Aye Kyaw was arrested in August 1991 in or near the village where he was working and taken directly to interrogation by the Intelligence UnitPost. He died the same day allegedly as a result of torture during interrogation sessions.

Ohn Kyaine (also known as Okay), who was under arrest at the Bamaw Post at the time, told the TJC what he heard and saw regarding the death of Aye Kyaw:

“They took him from outside, while Aye Kyaw was saying, ‘I joined the revolution because I don’t like such things. Don’t you do it! I am a real student.’ They didn’t put him to the lecture hall where we all were detained, but took him straight to the interrogation. His body came back to us and we buried him.”

Kyaw Swar Win Maung, who also witnessed the arrest of Aye Kyaw, told the Committee:

“They took him from the village. He was asked to take off his [ABSDF] uniform. I saw him asking Zaw Gyi ‘why am I being taken?’ Aye Kyaw was quite an aggressive guy. Zaw Gyi said just for some business and asked him to take off his uniform. He replied that, ‘I got no spare plain clothes.’ Then they asked him to remove his badges and he tore the badges apart. Then they took him to the Battalion.”

Kyaw Swar Win Maung was also able to confirm that Aye Kyaw was dead the morning after he was taken into interrogation. He also reported what he had heard about the incident from others in camp.

 “The next morning, Aye Kyaw was dead. It was only one night. Panchar Kyaw Myint told me he saw they were putting the human feces into his mouth. He was brutally tortured and he suffered a lot before he died. That’s the way he died.”

Based on eyewitness accounts, the Committee finds that Aye Kaw was arrested and died while being interrogated at the Bamaw Post by ABSDF  Intelligence Unit members. There is insufficient information to determine how Aye Kyaw died; but the Committee believes it is likely that he died from injuries he sustained from torture. Although there is insufficient evidence to conclude which individuals were responsible for the torture and killing of Aye Kyaw, the Committee is certain that members of the Intelligence Unit from the Laisin/Pajau Camp took a lead role in conducting interrogations.

2.1.3 The Killing of Tint Lwin
The Committee also heard evidence about the alleged torture and killing of Tint Lwin. According to Ohn Kyaine (also known as Okay), a survivor who was detained at the same time, Tint Lwin was interrogated and tortured in the week after his arrest, and died as a result. Ohn Kyaine gave the following account:

“I heard that Tint Lwin was cut all over his body and splashed salt over his cuts. It was in the lecture hall (where the victims were detained before the prison hall was built), and he was asking for a cup of water. He said, ‘Let me drink a cup of water before I die.’ He got water. He died soon after that. I don’t know how much he was tortured. It only took a week, not very long.”

While the Committee does not have sufficient evidence to establish exactly what happened to Tint Lwin, it believes that Ohn Kyaine is a reliable witness and finds that it is likely that the victim was killed during interrogationPost. There is a need for more follow up investigation to determine how he was killed, who was responsible, and where he was buried.

2.1.4 The Killing of Tin Maung Aye/ Ar Seit
The Committee received extensive testimony about the torture and killing of Tin Maung Aye, who was also known as Ar Seit. Originally from Katha, Tin Maung Aye was a member of the ABSDF-Northern Central Committee in charge of the Information Department. He was arrested at the Laisin/Pajau Camp in the middle of August 1991 and, according to multiple accounts from fellow detainees, tortured extensively at multiple interrogation sessions.

Several survivors spoke about observing Tin Maung Aye’s extensive injuries while being detained together in the lecture hall at the Laisin/Pajau Camp.  According to Kyaw Khine Win, ABSDF Northern leaders called about twenty detainees together in the lecture hall one day. The detainees were given one hour to discuss the spying allegations against them and deicide how they would like to ‘cooperate’ with the ABSDF-Northern leaders that had detained them. During that meeting Tin Maung Aye was brought in on a stretcher. He appeared to be very weak and had a bad smell coming from his body that some speculated came from an electric shock.

Yeh Linn Aung, another detainee, corroborated the story, adding that Tin Maung Aye was attached to an IV line when he was brought to the meeting. Despite his ill health, he was interrogated along with and in front of the other detainees.

Kyaw Khine Win added the following:

“I don’t know why they had such a grudge against Ar Seit. He was tortured so badly. I feel very sorry for him. The last thing I saw was him with the flesh torn from his leg and there was a bad smell. Nobody wanted to go near him. I guess that the inside of him might have been rotten and he died because of that . And when he died they buried him on the path between KIA New Camp and the prison, which used to be a training barrack.”

The Committee finds that Tin Maung Aye/Ar Seit died in detention in the Laisin/Pajau camp in August 1991 due to injuries sustained from torture during interrogation sessions. The Committee does not have sufficient evidence to determine who was responsible but believes that the Intelligence Unit played a leading role in conducting interrogations during that time. 

2.1.5 The Killing of Kyaw Htay
Kyaw Htay was one of the first people arrested at the Laisin/Pajau Camp. He was detained with at least four others on August 10, 1991. Yeh Linn Aung confirmed his arrest and that he was taken into custody by members of the Intelligence Unit:

“I saw him taken away by the members of Intelligence Unit from the Lecture Hall to the Intelligence Unit barrack. I saw it.”

Moe Kyaw Thu, another victim who was involved in some interrogations before his arrest, confirmed that Kyaw Htay died as result of torture.

Aung Naing, ABSDF-Northern General Secretary, verified that Kyaw Htay was treated particularly brutally:  “Interrogations had some problems. In the beginning it was very harsh, especially with Kyaw Wai and Kyaw Htay. They got stabbed with knife, but that was not the way the majority were treated.”

The Committee has confirmed that Kyaw Htay died as result of torture during  interrogations conducted by the ABSDF-Northern Intelligence Unit. The Committee was unable to determine the exact cause/manner of death but believes that Kyaw Htay was stabbed.

2.1.6 The Killing of Yar Kwat Bai
The Committee heard testimony from one eyewitness about the killing of Yar Kwat Bai, the only civilian killed in the ABSDF-Northern incident. Yar Kwat Bai was a betel nut seller in Ying Jiang, a town near the Laisin/Pajau Camp. The Intelligence Unit picked up Yar Kwat Bai in August 1991 after a detainee mentioned his name during interrogation. According to the witness who was involved in the Intelligence Unit at the time, Yar Kwat Bai was taken to Laisin/Pajau Camp and interrogated by members of the Intelligence Unit. He was tortured during interrogation and died as a result.

The Committee has confirmed that Yar Kwat Bai died as result of torture during an interrogation session conducted by the ABSDF-Northern Intelligence Unit. The Committee was unable to determine the exact cause ormanner of death, or the individuals responsible.

2.1.7 The Killing of Zaw Win Chit
Zaw Win Chit, the former Regional-In-Charge of the Bamaw Post, was arrested on September 10, 1991 in the Laisin/Pajau Camp. Nyi Nyi Kyaw, former member of ABSDF-Northern Central Committee and Bamaw District Officer, gave the Committee evidence about the torture and killing of Zaw Win Chit. At the time Nyi Nyi Kyaw was detained in a room next to the one where Zaw Win Chit was being interrogated. Although he could not see what was happening, he could hear a lot due to the thin wall separating the two rooms. He said:

“I didn’t see him [Zaw Win Chit] but there was only a wall (bamboo). He died right in front of U Sein.”

Aung Swe Oo, 702 Battalion Commander, confirmed that Zaw Win Chit died during a night of interrogation. He did not provide any details.

The Committee finds that Zaw Win Chit was killed during a night of interrogation in Laisin/Pajau Camp on or shortly after September 10, 1991. The Committee was unable to determine the exact cause/manner of death or the individuals responsible; but is certain that members of the Intelligence Unit were present.

2.1.8 The Killing of Pyi Soe Naing
The Committee heard testimony from two people about the torture and killing of Pyi Soe Naing, the first former member of Battalion 401 to be arrested. He was arrested in late August 1991, shortly after Khin Cho Oo. He and Khin Cho Oo both came from Rangoon, worked in the same office at the Laisin/Pajau Camp, and were very close.

Before his own arrest in early September 1991, Ko Toe Kyi was working in an office in front of the interrogation rooms at the Laisin/Pajau Camp. Although he could not see what was happening inside the interrogation rooms, he reported that he could hear what was taking place. He claims that Pyi Soe Naing was arrested at night and dead by the following morning. He believes that it was probably as a result of torture during interrogation. As a fellow former member of Battalion 401, Ko Toe Kyi had spent time with Pyi Soe Naing and felt that he might be more susceptible to torture due to previous illness. He told the Committee:

“Since we moved from Shan State,  Ko Pyi was suffering from a disease that caused swelling in the brain.. A person with that disease couldn’t take torture that much. For instance when he [Pyi Soe Naing] got interrogated with electric shock he couldn’t take it. Maybe he died because of that shock.”
Nyi Nyi Kyaw, who was detained at the same time confirmed that Pyi Soe Naing was killed around the same time as Khin Maung Soe.

Although the Committee was unable to determine the exact cause of Pyi Soe Naing’s death, they have reason to believe that he was killed during interrogation, possibly by use of torture. The Committee did not have sufficient evidence to determine who was involved in the death of Pyi Soe Naing.

2.1.9 The Killing of Khin Maung Soe
Many survivors mentioned the killing of Khin Maung Soe, who served as Personal Staff Officer (PSO) of ABSDF-Northern Chairperson Htun Aung Kyaw. He was arrested at Laisin/Pajau Camp in August 1991, shortly before Htun Aung Kyaw. Although many survivors generally recalled the killing of Khin Maung Soe, only one was able to provide more detailed information.

Kyaw Naing Oo, who was arrested at nearly the same time as Khin Maung Soe, gave this account:

“U Sein and I were detained at the Military Affairs Office. At night, they stated interrogating Khin Maung Soe. He died right at the interrogation. Both of us were arrested almost together. He was a PSO for Chairperson and I served as PSO for General Secretary. So I was shocked knowing he was dead.”

The Committee is certain that Khin Maung Soe was killed after being arrested at Laisin/Pajau Camp in August 1991. Although there is not enough evidence to determine the exact cause of his death, the Committee strongly believes that Khin Maung Soe died during interrogation by the Intelligence Unit, probably as the result of torture.

2.1.10 The Killing of Kyaw Kyaw Oo
The Committee heard testimony from one survivor about the alleged torture and killing of Kyaw Kyaw Oo, an ABSDF member from Katha.  He was arrested in Laisin/Pajau Camp on September 10, 1991.

San Win (also known as Phoe San), a survivor who was arrested and detained on the same day (September 10, 1991) told the Committee how Intelligence Unit members took Kyaw Kyaw Oo for interrogation one night, possibly December 26, 1991. The following morning San Win saw members of the Intelligence Unit carrying the dead body of Kyaw Kyaw Oo away. He believes that Kyaw Kyaw Oo died during interrogation.  

Although the Committee does not have sufficient evidence to determine the exact cause of death, it has reason to believe that Kyaw Kyaw Oo was killed during interrogation in the custody of the Intelligence Unit at Laisin/Pajau Camp. The Committee notes that Kyaw Kyaw Oo’s death allegedly took place in December 1991, more than three and half months after his arrest, and almost three months after any other killings during interrogation. There is a need to confirm the date of the interrogation and to confirm exactly what happened. There is a need for more information to determine who was responsible.

2.1.11 The Killing of Kyaw Wai
The Committee received information regarding the beheading of Kyaw Wai from several people. Two were guards at that time of incident and were able to provide eyewitness accounts. The other one was a survivor who spoke about what he heard and saw that day. According to these three witnesses Kyaw Wai was taken to Assam Hill along with Htun Aung Kyaw and Cho Gyi for questioning, possibly about the location of explosive devices or a radio.

At some point the interrogation turned deadly, with both eyewitnesses confirming that Myo Win beheaded Kyaw Wai. They described the scene in this way:

“...interrogating him and Myo Win repeated his question to Kyaw Wai. Then [he said] ‘kill him’ and then pulled his shirt down to this (shoulder). First, Kyaw Wai said, ‘Please don’t.’ Then he stopped, realizing they would do it anyway, and he shouted, ‘Kill me. I am Kyaw Wai, a real student. I can be killed but not my soul. I am a real student, you can kill me, etc....”

“He was already beheaded….I saw him beheaded by my own eyes. His body and head were apart.”

“I was there when Kyaw Wai was beheaded. He was asked to lay his head on the wood. Then Vice Chief of Staff Myo Win threatened ‘I am going to cut your head off’ and then he did. It was just cut but lost so much blood. Then he died right in front of my eyes.”

Given the information it received, the Committee finds that ABSDF-Northern Vice Chief of Staff Myo Win beheaded Kyaw Wai during an interrogation session involving Kyaw Wai, Htun Aung Kyaw, and Cho Gyi. The exact date is unknown but is believed to be early 1992 before February 12. The Committee has insufficient evidence about who else was involved.

3. Deaths in Detention

The Committee looked into eight deaths in detention. Although there was not enough evidence in some cases to determine the exact cause of death, the Committee is certain that all of these deaths took place while the victims were detained in the custody of the ABSDF- Northern Camp. Two of the deaths took place in the Bamaw Post, three at the Laisin/Pajau Camp, and three others somewhere on the frontline.

There is no central pattern to these deaths although the Committee believes that excessive brutality of prison warders and other ABSDF-Northern captors, the cumulative effect of the inhuman conditions of detention, and torture were contributing factors.   The cases are listed below in the chronological order that they are believed to have happened.

3.1 List of Killings/Deaths in Detention

3.1.1 The Arbitrary Killing of Aung Koe
Aung Koe (also known as Aung Than Hla) was arrested on September 10, 1991 in the Bamaw Post. He was detained with others in the lecture hall and was interrogated. According to several witness accounts, Aung Koe was shot to death one night. 

The Committee heard the following accounts from two fellow victims who were with Aung Koe at the time his death.  Kyaw Swar Win Maung recalled the following:

“Soe Naing, one of the arrested, and a Bamaw native, escaped while he were detained in the lecture hall. They gave chase to him but didn’t get him. Then, Aung Than asked all of us to stand up with our hands tied at the back. Each of us was tied at one pillar separately. Then Aung Than ordered his men to inform the KIO that they would fire a few test-rounds. He was really drunk so we don’t know whether or not he was aiming at us or making some random fires. [We were blindfolded]. All of us were saying to our own God.

He opened fire, and told us to sit down while his commando guys tortured us. We heard that Aung Koe got hit. He got hit with two rounds. They said to report to Medic Bout Mai to treat his wounds. I think he got shot in either his pancreas or his lung.

Aung Than kept asking Aung Koe “ Are you dead yet?” until he died. The incident happened about 6 or 7 pm. I heard they were recording time when Aung Koe was pronounced dead. I heard it was 2:45 am. So he was tortured by being asked the same question until that time.”

Another fellow victim, who was with him at that time, Ohn Kyaine (also known as Okay) confirmed the account and raised the issue of lack of medical care. 
“He [Aung Than] was very drunk and randomly opened fired. One of the bullets went through very close by. Aung Koe was hit by the next round. He wouldn’t have died if he received the medical attention. They left him alone.”

Regarding the same incident, Pouk Kway, who was a Company Commander of the Laisin/Pajau Security Unit, gave a slightly different account of what happened but also confirmed the killing of Aung Koe.

“ For the death of Aung Koe, it was Battalion Commander Aung Than or Ba Gyan. At that time, we were very angry at the enemy and he was in very high emotion. He had drinks but was not very drunk. He said,‘Aung Koe, I was going to shoot you.’ Then he opened fire and Aung Koe got hit in the left shoulder. He died because of so much blood loss.”

Given the above accounts the Committee confirms that Aung Koe (also known as Aung Than Hla) was shot and killed during an incident at the Bamaw Post. The date is believed to be sometime in September 1991 after Aung Koe’s arrest (September 10). . There is strong evidence that it was not only the gunshot but also the denial of life-saving medical care that lead to the death of Aung Koe. The Committee believes that Aung Than (also known as Ba Gyan) was responsible for the shooting and denial of health care.  The Committee was informed that Aung Than, committed suicide in 1994.

3.1.2 The Death of (U) Maung Sein (also known as U Sein)
U Maung Sein (aka) U Sein was a student activist from the 1974 Generation. He served in the Justice Department and was a member of ABSDF-Northern Central Committee. He was arrested with Htun Aung Kyaw in August 1991 and held at Laisin/Pajau Camp. According to the statement of many of his fellow detainees, U Sein, because of his age, was greatly affected by the torture he endured during  interrogation, and the harsh conditions of detention, particularly very cold weather, lack of food and inadequate accommodation. One detainee-survivor provided the following details about the death of (U) Maung Sein in an interview with the Committee. He pointed out the poor conditions of U Sein’s clothing.

“It was nearly end of October. They left U Sein with us for two days. When we came back from the hard labor, we were told U Sein was dead and he was on the bamboo-mat. He was covered with a shirt…more like a sweater. It was called Aung Ba – Shirt and a very cheap one. Some Mule-Chinese men wore such kind of shirt. He was wearing it.”

Other survivors were able to confirm the death of U Sein to the Committee.

The Committee confirms that U Sein was arrested and died in detention on or near October 10, 1991. Although the Committee was not able to determine the exact cause of his death, they have reason to believe that the harsh conditions of detention and torture sustained during interrogation were contributing factors.

3.1.3 The Killing of Win Naung
In December 1991, the 22  detainees who were arrested at the Bamaw Post were transferred to the Headquarters. One of them was Win Naung, who was said to be suffering a wound on his leg due to torture. Several of Win Naung’s fellow detainees from Bamaw told the Committee how Win Naung was left behind on the transfer.  They believe that he was killed because he was unable to make a long walking-trip to Headquarters. Aung Kyaw Oo, one survivor, said the following in regard to Win Naung’s killing.

“On one of the nights of the third week of December, we were called up to set off on the journey but Win Naung couldn’t join us because he couldn’t walk.  All of us 22 victims were tied with our hands at the back and attached to each other and began the journey during the night. (Was Win Naung included?) No, he wasn’t. He was left. It was only 22 of us who were taken on the long and hard trip. We didn’t know where we were being taken to. We only figured out when we reached the Headquarters. It was third week of December or may be around December 20 when we arrived.”

Although he did not provide any details, Pouk Kway, Company Commander of the Laisin/Pajau Headquarter Security Unit, was able to confirm Win Naung’s death.

“Win Naung was killed. We trained him. I was his one of the trainers. Before his death he paid his last respect to me, before he got killed.”

The Committee confirms that Win Naung was arrested in August 1991 and was killed sometime in late December 1991. The circumstances of Win Naung’s death are unknown but are linked to him being unable to keep up with other detainees because of his wounded leg while they were being moved on foot to the Laisin/Pajau Camp Headquarters. However, the Committee couldn’t confirm the actual events or the individual responsible for the killing of Win Naung.     

3.1.4 The Killing of Win Thein (also know as A Shay Gyi)
Win Thein (aka) A Shay Gyi was arrested in 1991 in Laisin/Pajau Camp  and held in the Lecture Hall. Several witnesses mentioned the death of Win Thein to the Committee but no one was able to provide details about the reason or manner of his death. According to several witnesses Win Thein survived interrogation but died of unknown causes during detention. A fellow detainee made this statement about his death.

“It was early night and his body was as if risen up while sleeping. Then I asked ‘A Shay Gyi, what happened?‘  People loved him. He died. I thought it may have been high blood pressure or food poisoning. But mostly, it may have been result of torture that he received during the interrogations and hard work during detention. He had been just fine and fresh for the whole day. It was strange he had such a good mood before he died. He died while we all were sleeping, that night.”

Based on testimony from multiple survivors, the Committee has confirmed arrest and the death of Win Thein in detention in late February or early March 1992. It is however unable to make any findings about the reason of his death. 

3.1.5 The Killing of Aung Min/Htein Linn
Aung Min (also known as Htein Linn) was an ABSDF member who was detained in 1991. According to several survivors, Aung Min was killed in 1992 (likely after February 12) at the detention center.

On the night that he was killed, Aung Min was among the detainees that were forced to provide entertainment for guards and others at the camp. Aung Min sang a song that upset Hla Myo Aung, the Chief Warder. Former detainee Htein Linn told the TJC:

“…Aung Min was singing a song which was about many versus one. Ko Nay Win’s song. Suddenly Hla Myo Aung exploded said ‘You think we have been mistreating you, is that what you think?’ and started beating him with his newly made numchucks. Since early evening he kept beating him and sometimes the other guards joined in the beating.”Although the other detainees were blindfolded at the time, they could hear Aung Min being beaten. When they awoke the following morning, they discovered that Aung Min was dead.

Based on the testimony of Htein Linn and accounts of several other survivors, the TJC finds that Aung Min (also known as Htein Linn) was killed at the Laisin/Pajau detention center. The TJC strongly believes that Hla Myo Aung and other guards are responsible for his death. The exact timing of his death is unknown but is believed to be in 1992 after the February 12 executions.

4. Killings that Took Place outside the Mandate of the TJC

During the course of its investigations the TJC heard testimony about killings that took place outside the mandate of the Committee’s work. These included cases that fell outside the TJC’s timeline and geographical focus (the ABSDF-Northern camp). The TJC believes that these cases merit further investigation and follow up to determine what took place:

  • Execution/killing of Hlwan Moe
  • Killing of three people during Sagaing Operation
    1. Kyaw Kyaw Ohn
    2. Kyi Soe
    3. Thein Tun