The UN investigators have for the first time on Monday, 27th August declared the violence meted out upon
Rohingya Muslims by Burmese army in northern state of Burma to be a campaign of genocide and said the commander-in-chief along with five other named generals should face prosecution for acting with such genocidal intent, crimes against humanity and war crimes.It is by far the strongest condemnation yet from the international community for a widespread military crackdown in Arakan state, which began on 25 August last year. The investigation report has been published a day before an open debate on Rohingya crisis at the UN Security Council (UNSC) to be held today on August 28. The report may have an especial attention in today’s open discussion at UNSC.
The panel accused Aung San Suu Kyi for not using her de facto position as head of government, nor her moral authority to prevent such unfolding events and protect the unarmed Rohingya civilians.
The three members UN independent international fact-finding mission that set up last year has released its 20 pages final report on Monday after having indepth interview of 875 Rohingya victims and witnesses and analysing authenticated documents, videos, photographs and satellite images of the troubled zones.A year ago, Burmese troops led a brutal crackdown in Arakan State that drove some 700,000 Rohingya, most are now living in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
The UN report said the military action, which included mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya and torching of villages, was grossly disproportionate to actual security threats.
The report also accused Aung San Suu Kyi led civilian government for contributing to the commission of atrocity crimes by allowing hate speech to thrive, destroyed documents and failed to protect minorities from crimes against humanity and war crimes by Burmese Army (or Tatmadaw) in Arakan, Kachin and Shan states.
“The crimes in Rakhine (Arakan) 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,” said the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Burma.
The report does not suggest that the crisis, which began a year ago, was a surprise – rather, it refers to a “catastrophe looming for decades” as a result of the “severe, systemic and institutionalised oppression from birth to death” of the Rohingya people.
The UN panel, led by former Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman, said that the UN Security Council should ensure all perpetrators are held to account, preferably by referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) if not by creating an ad hoc tribunal.The Security Council should “adopt targeted individual sanctions, including travel bans and asset freezes, against those who appear most responsible for serious crimes under international law” and impose an arms sanctions on Burma, they added.
The five other generals the UN panel said should be prosecuted were named as Brigadier-General Aung Aung, commander of the 33rd Light Infantry Division, 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. Brigadier-General Aung Aung, commander of the 33rd Light Infantry Division who oversaw operations in the coastal village of Inn Din where 10 Rohingya captive boys and men were killed.
In dismissing the army’s so-called Clearance Operation for justification of the crackdown the report read: “Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages. The Tatmadaw’s [the military’s] tactics are consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats, especially in Arakan state, but also in northern Burma.Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the investigative team, said Burmese military commander Min Aung Hlaing should step down in the wake of the report.
The UN report that released on Monday also criticized Facebook’s response to allegations that the social media giant had been used to incite violence and hatred against the Rohingyas.”Facebook’s response has been slow and ineffective. The extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination and violence must be independently and thoroughly examined,” it said.
The team will next present a fuller report, with analysis of the next possible legal steps, to the Human Rights Council on 18 September.