UN calls for genocide probe of Myanmar's top military

By Meryem Goktas

ANKARA (AA) – The UN on Monday called for an investigation and prosecution of Myanmar's top military officials for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes against Rohingya Muslims.

According to a report by the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, human rights violations and abuses committed in Kachin, Rakhine and Shan States need to be probed at the International Criminal Court.

It also said that the Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing needed to be prosecuted.

"Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages.The Tatmadaw’s [Myanmar's armed forces] tactics are consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats, especially in Rakhine State, but also in northern Myanmar," the report reads.

The report added that crimes against humanity committed on Rohingya Muslims include murder, rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence.

"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," the report said.

According to the report State Counsellor, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi did not prevent the crimes against Rohingya Muslims.

"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 Government and the Tatmadaw have fostered a climate in which hate speech thrives, human rights violations are legitimized, and incitement to discrimination and violence facilitated," it added.

"The impetus for accountability must come from the international community," the report said.

On Aug. 25, 2017, Myanmar launched a major military crackdown on the Muslim ethnic minority, killing almost 24,000 civilians and forcing 750,000 others to flee to Bangladesh, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

In its recent report, Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience, the OIDA increased the estimated number of murdered Rohingya to 23,962 (±881) from an earlier Doctors Without Borders figure of 9,400.

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, the OIDA report said, adding that 17,718 (±780) Rohingya women and girls were raped by the Myanmar army and police. More than 115,000 Rohingya houses were burned and 113,000 others were vandalized, it added.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In its report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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