Myanmar’s top military officers must be tried for crimes against humanity: Amnesty International

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Myanmar's top military officials, including commanders of its defense and army services, should be tried for crimes against humanity for treating the Rohingya minorities, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday. .

A satellite image taken on September 24, 2017 and provided by Amnesty International on June 26, 2018 shows what they describe as the geography of the village of Min Gyi in Myanmar, divided between a Rohingya area surrounded by the river Purma to the north and east, and to the south, and an ethnic area of ​​Rakhine to the west. Amnesty International says that approximately 385 structures in the Rohingya area seem razed. Amnesty International / DigitalGlobe / Brochure via REUTERS

Amnesty requested the United Nations Security Council to forward the conclusions of the report to the International Criminal Court (ICC) and impose an "integral arms embargo" on the Southeast Asian country and financial sanctions against official seniors.

Contacted late on Tuesday, neither the Russian delegation to the United Nations, which currently chairs the UN Security Council, nor the Myanmar Mission to the United Nations were available for comment.

A spokesman for the Myanmar government was also not available for comment.

Around 700,000 mostly Muslim Rohingyas have fled to Bangladesh from largely Buddhist Myanmar since a military crackdown last August that the United Nations called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing."

A separate Reuters special report on Tuesday gave a full account of the roles played by two light infantry divisions in the offensive against the Rohingya.

Satellite images show the mountain village of Khu Dang in Myanmar, taken on January 21, 2017 (L) and September 25, 2017 in a combined photo published by Amnesty International in New York City, USA . UU., June 26, 2018. Amnesty International / DigitalGlobe / Brochure through REUTERS

Amnesty, which began its investigation in September, said in its report that "operations led by the military … amounted to a campaign orchestrated murder, rape, torture and destruction aimed at punishing the Rohingya people in the northern state of Rakhine and expelling them from the country. "

Appointed Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander of Myanmar's defense services, and his deputy and army commander, Deputy Mayor General Soe Win, and commanders of specific units who "committed many of the worst atrocities."

The report also named eight other members of the army and three members of the Border Guard Police.

Amnesty said that these people should face justice "because of their command responsibility, their direct responsibility, or both."

A spokesperson for the Myanmar armed forces was not available for comment.

In Myanmar, the Rohingya are widely called "Bengali", which they see as a derogatory term that implies they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Although many Rohingya traced their roots in Myanmar through generations, they have been denied citizenship.

Satellite images show the southern part of the group of Koe Tan Kauk villages in Myanmar, taken on November 25, 2017 (L) and on April 5, 2018 in a combined photo published by Amnesty International in the city of New York, USA UU June 26, 2018. Amnesty International / DigitalGlobe / Brochure through REUTERS

Amnesty urged Myanmar to stop restrictions on freedom of movement and return citizenship to Rohingya.

In February, Reuters reported on the murder of 10 Rohingya men and boys by the Rakhine Buddhists and the security forces in the village of Inn Din.

Two Reuters journalists were imprisoned in Myanmar in December while reporting that story and remain in prison in Yangon, facing up to 14 years behind bars for allegedly violating Myanmar's Official Secrets Act.

Myanmar has rejected most allegations of irregularities and has said that it launched a legitimate counter-insurgency operation after Rohingya militants attacked its armed forces last August.

In Myanmar there is no civilian supervision of military justice. The International Criminal Court, the world's first permanent war crimes tribunal, does not have automatic jurisdiction over Myanmar because it is not a member state.

However, the International Criminal Court has already been asked to consider a separate case related to the alleged deportation of Myanmar from Rohingya to Bangladesh, which is a member state of the ICC.

The ICC did not respond immediately to requests for comments outside of business hours in The Hague.

If the UN Security Council forwarded Amnesty's findings to the ICC, it would also grant the court jurisdiction to investigate.

Report of Rodrigo Campos; Editing by Toni Reinhold


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