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Myanmar military leaders must face genocide charges, says UN

28th Sep 2018
Myanmar military leaders must face genocide charges, says UN

(Photo: Zlatica Hoke/Voice of America CC)

Hamed Chapman

The Security Council should ensure accountability for crimes under international law committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, preferably by referring the situation to the International Criminal Court or alternatively by creating an ad hoc international criminal tribunal, one of the most damning UN reports by an independent fact-finding mission has warned.

The mission, established by the UN Human Rights Council in March 2017, found that Myanmar’s armed forces had taken actions that “undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law.”

Chair of the investigative mission, Marzuki Darusman, said that victim accounts were “amongst the most shocking human rights violations” he had come across and that they would “leave a mark on all of us for the rest of our lives.”
Speaking in Geneva, he described Myanmar’s military as having showed a “flagrant disregard for lives” and displayed “extreme levels of brutality”. The Rohingya were “in a continuing situation of severe systemic and institutionalised oppression from birth to death,” Marzuki warned.

The report amassed a vast amount of primary information, based on 875 interviews with witnesses and victims together with satellite imagery, and verified photos and videos. It singled out six senior military figures it believes should go on trial, while the country’s civilian leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, was fiercely criticised for failing to intervene to stop the violence.

“The State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, has not used her de facto position as Head of Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events in Rakhine State,” the report said.

“The gross human rights violations and abuses committed in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States are shocking for their horrifying nature and ubiquity. Many of these violations undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law.”

“They are also shocking because they stem from deep fractures in society and structural problems that have been apparent and unaddressed for decades. They are shocking for the level of denial, normalcy and impunity that is attached to them.”

Addressing the Security Council, UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, called on member states to urge Myanmar to cooperate in solving the humanitarian crisis experienced by Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state, which he described “one of the world’s worst humanitarian and human rights crises”.

The Myanmar Government has notoriously refused to work with UN human rights groups despite repeated calls by the Security Council to do so but he urged its authorities “to ensure immediate, unimpeded and effective access for its agencies and partners.”

According to the Ontario International Development Agency, the latest genocide against the Rohingya launched last year has resulted in almost 24,000 civilians being killed and 750,000 others including women and children to flee to Bangladesh.

 

Failure to prevent genocide of Rohingya Muslims must never be repeated

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