Rohingya, UN investigation finds Burmese military guilt of 'intent to genocide'

The commission's final report investigated the violence in Rakhine for over a year. Charges against the democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Investigators highlight the role played by Facebook: "A useful tool for those seeking to spread hatred".


Geneva (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Burmese military has carried out "mass killings and rapes against the Rohingya minority with intent to genocide"; the commander in chief and five generals "should be tried for orchestrating serious crimes", reads the heavy accusation contained in the final report of the commission charged with investigating ethnic violence in the Western State of Rakhine by the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

In the document published yesterday, the three international experts also censure the civilian government led by the democratic leader Aung San Suu Kyi. They accuse the executive of "allowing hate speech to flourish"; of "having destroyed evidence and documents"; of "not having protected minorities from war crimes and those against humanity", committed by the Tatmadaw (the army) in Rakhine but also in the states of Kachin and Shan.

Presided over by former Indonesian attorney general Marzuki Darusman, the commission has operated on a UN mandate since March 2017 and came to these conclusions after questioning 875 victims and witnesses of the violence. Backed by photographic material, video and satellite images, investigations took place in Bangladesh and other countries.

In the last year, the government of Aung San Suu Kyi has rejected most of the allegations about the alleged atrocities committed by the security forces against the Rohingya Muslims. Naypyidaw built transit centers to bring refugees fleeing to Bangladesh back to Rakhine, but UN relief agencies say the return procedures are not yet secure.

Warning that "impunity is deeply rooted in Myanmar's political and legal system", investigators insist that the only possibility of obtaining justice is through the international judicial system; demand the UN Security Council refer Myanmar's position to the International Criminal Court or to create an ad hoc international tribunal; recommend an arms embargo and "targeted individual sanctions against those who appear to be the most responsible".

The commission also highlighted the role played by Facebook, describing it as "a useful tool for those seeking to spread hatred". A few hours after the publication of the report, the social network deleted the profiles of 20 people and organizations that "have committed or allowed serious violations of human rights in the country". Among these there is also the account of the commander in chief of the Burmese Armed Forces, Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

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