Myanmar Army Chief Must Be Prosecuted For Rohingya "Genocide": UN Probe


The site aired support for the military's bloody "clearance operations" past year that forced some 700,000 Rohingya over the border into Bangladesh.

Facebook, which is a highly popular source of information in Myanmar, has come under criticism for giving a platform to vitriolic posts aimed at stirring up and spreading hatred against the minority Muslim Rohingya population.

"The [fact-finding mission] has done what no one in Myanmar, including Aung San Suu Kyi and the civilian government, dared to do - accuse army commander Min Aung Hlaing and his top generals of the worst human rights crimes known to man", says Phil Robertson, deputy Asia director at Human Rights Watch.

"Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo have already spent more than eight months in prison based on allegations of a crime they did not commit", a statement said.

They should also be investigated and prosecuted for "crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States", it said, insisting that the army tactics had been "consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats". It concluded that what took place in the country's Rakhine state is similar to conduct found to constitute "genocidal intent" in other places.

The U.N. panel, led by former Indonesian attorney-general Marzuki Darusman, named the Myanmar army's commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and five other generals who should face justice. Yet they faulted the de factor leader for failing to exercise her "moral authority".

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In doing so, it "contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes", the report said.

On the left, satellite photos before August of 2017 show Rohingya villages, but a year ago this week they had been burnt out by the Myanmar army as part of its ethnic cleansing.

The report detailed a horrifying list of atrocities committed against the Rohingya, including murder, enforced disappearance, torture, as well as sexual violence "perpetrated on a massive scale".

In some of the sternest language used to condemn a yearlong campaign of violence, the three-member fact-finding mission estimated that 10,000 people were killed, a figure they labeled as "conservative".

"Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages", according to the report released on Monday.

"Almost all instances of sexual violence are attributable to the Tatmadaw [the Myanmar Armed Forces]", it said.

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"The result is a continuing situation of severe, systemic and institutionalised oppression from birth to death", the investigators say.

Pointing to "deeply entrenched" impunity in Myanmar, the investigators said the only chance to obtain accountability was through the global justice system.

The U.N. Security Council should ensure all perpetrators are held to account, preferably by referring Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC) or by creating an ad hoc tribunal, the investigators said.

A Myanmar court postponed ruling Monday (Aug 27) on whether two Reuters journalists violated a state secrets law while reporting on the Rohingya crisis, with a new date set for next week. "Facebook has been a useful instrument for those seeking to spread hate, in a context where for most users Facebook is the Internet", said the report.

"We continue to work to prevent the misuse of Facebook in Myanmar - including through the independent human rights impact assessment we commissioned earlier in the year", the company said.

Meanwhile, Facebook, which has acknowledged its slow response to a torrent of anti-Rohingya hate speech spread on its site in Myanmar, said Monday that it is banning 20 Myanmar people and organizations from the site, including Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

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"We want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions", the company said in its statement.