Top Myanmar military officers should be prosecuted for genocide against Rohingyas: UN Report

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Members of the United Nations' Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar present their final report on the alleged human rights violations. | AFP

A United Nations Report has stated in its document, written by an independent three-member fact-finding mission of the UN Human Rights Council, that the top military leaders of Myanmar should be prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya population in the Rakhine state.

The report named commander-in-chief of the Myanmar Army, Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and said he, along with five other generals, should be prosecuted for human rights abuse and genocide. It said the nature, scale, and organisation of the operations against the Rohingya Muslims “suggests a level of pre-planning and design” on the part of leadership consistent with the vision of Aung Hlaing.

The report said the “clearance operations” to drive out the Rohingya were led by the army, along with other security forces such as the Myanmar Police Force and the Border Guard Police. The report added that some of the most serious violations were committed by divisions reporting directly to Deputy Commander-in-Chief General Soe Win. “Almost all instances of sexual violence are attributable to the Tatmadaw [the Myanmar Armed Forces],” it said.

In its final 20-page report, the mission said there was “genocidal intent” behind the actions of the Myanmar government.

“The crimes in Rakhine State, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, are similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocidal intent to be established in other contexts,” it said. “There is sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Tatmadaw [army] chain of command, so that a competent court can determine their liability for genocide in relation to the situation in Rakhine state.”

The mission said there was no cooperation from the Myanmar government, which did not grant its members access to the country and failed to reply to any communication.

The report said a special mechanism be set up to keep watch on the human rights situation in Myanmar, adding that the United Nations’ own role in the country since 2011 should be reviewed to see if it did enough to prevent the crisis. The authors criticised Aung San Suu Kyi, and said she had “not used her de facto position as Head of Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events” in Rakhine state.

Earlier, the U.S Treasury department imposed sanctions on four Myanmar military and police commanders and two army units for involvement in what it called “ethnic cleansing” and other human rights abuses against the country’s Rohingya Muslims, Reuters reported.

The sanctions are named towards military commanders Aung Kyaw Zaw, Khin Maung Soe, Khin Hlaing, and border police commander Thura San Lwin, in addition to the 33rd and 99th Light Infantry Divisions, the Treasury said.

However, it has not called for accountability of human rights abuses and violations at the top level, which is a current ongoing debate within the government.

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