Myanmar military leaders accused of genocide in country's north

Hugh Fox
August 27, 2018

The UN mission did not have access to Myanmar for its report but said it based its findings on primary sources like eyewitness interviews, satellite imagery, photographs and videos.

On Monday investigators of UN's top human rights body accused Myanmar military leaders of genocide. They also recommended that the matter be referred to the International Criminal Court or another special tribunal.

It raises the remarkable prospect that the Nobel Peace Prize victor could see her own generals put on trial for crimes against humanity. Myanmar's court system is not independent enough to provide accountability, and the government is "unable and unwilling" to prosecute these crimes, putting the burden on the global community, the investigators concluded. "We ban this kind of behavior because we want people to be able to trust the connections they make on Facebook", said Wareing.

Contacted by phone, Myanmar military spokesman Major General Tun Tun Nyi said he could not immediately comment.

"Now it falls to governments around the world to uphold the oft-repeated pledge that "never again" really means what it says, and that those in Myanmar who have crossed that line will pay the price". She then named six generals the team has flagged for a criminal inquiry to prioritize, starting with Military Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing.

Myanmar’s Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing commander-in-chief of the Myanmar armed forces
Myanmar’s Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing commander-in-chief of the Myanmar armed forces

Reuters was unable to contact Min Aung Hlaing or Aung Aung on Monday.

Pompeo's statement came on the one year anniversary of the conflict in western Myanmar's Rakhine state that drove more than 700,000 Rohingya from their homes into neighboring Bangladesh.

The council created the mission in March past year - almost six months before a string of deadly rebel attacks on security and police posts set off a crackdown that drove Rohingya to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh.

Suu Kyi's government has rejected most allegations of atrocities made against the security forces by refugees. Such a designation is rare, but has been used in countries including Bosnia, Rwanda and Sudan.

At a press conference, the mission said the actions in Myanmar account to the "gravest crimes under worldwide law", stating that "criminal prosecution is warranted", under the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

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Facebook's latest removal affects Myanmar.

That massacre was uncovered by two Reuters journalists - Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28 - who were arrested last December and are being tried on charges of violating Myanmar's Official Secrets Act.

Reuters expressed disappointment that the verdict was not delivered as scheduled.

The investigators cited six Myanmar military leaders as "priority subjects" for possible prosecution, including Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing.

The four other generals the United Nations panel said should be prosecuted were named as the army deputy commander-in-chief, Vice Senior-General Soe Win; the commander of the Bureau of Special Operations-3, Lieutenant-General Aung Kyaw Zaw; the commander of Western Regional Military Command, Major-General Maung Maung Soe; and the commander of 99th Light Infantry Division, Brigadier-General Than Oo.

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Under the constitution, civilian authorities have little control over the military. Tayoub fled to Bangladesh after the violence began a year ago.

The report said the situation was a "catastrophe looming for decades", and an inevitable result of "severe, systemic and institutionalised oppression from birth to death". Members of the mostly Buddhist Rakhine ethnic group and Hindus from Rakhine state said they would hold events to remember those killed by Rohingya militants in attacks that triggered the crisis. Brig. Gen. Maung Maung, a military representative in Parliament, said the army doesn't have any comment on the United Nations report. "So it's hard to say exactly that there's a link between the postponement and the UN [Security Council] meeting, but there are possibilities", defense lawyer Than Zaw Aung said.

"Although improved in recent months, Facebook's response has been slow and ineffective".

Across the border in Myanmar, the government said security patrols had been increased in the conflict area ahead of the anniversary for fear of further violence.

Facebook was a key outlet in which hate speech was propagated against the Rohingya Muslims, the mission said.

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