01/27/2020, 18.08
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EU tells Myanmar to prosecute people responsible for war crimes in Rakhine

Myanmar is invited to act on the final report of the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICoE) set up by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi in 2018. “The EU stands ready to support the Government of Myanmar in any efforts to address the root causes of the multi-faceted conflict in Rakhine state.”

Naypyidaw (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The European Union on Monday called on the Myanmar government to prosecute the people responsible for war crimes and grave human rights abuses committed in Rakhine State between 2016 and 2017.

In a statement today, the EU urges Myanmar authorities to act on the report released last week by the Independent Commission of Inquiry (ICoE) set up by Myanmar in August 2018 to shed light on the violence perpetrated against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

The EU wants the Myanmar government to conduct “adequate follow-up investigations, in line with international standards” of the abuses in Rakhine reported by the ICoE.

“Credible action must be taken to bring to justice those responsible for these serious violations, especially by Myanmar’s security forces”, whilst “the recommendations for institutional reforms within Myanmar's defence forces to prevent the recurrence of human rights violations” must be followed up, the statement read.

The commission, which included two Myanmar and two international experts, began its work on 15 August 2018, two weeks after it was established. Its chair, Filipino career diplomat Rosario Malano, said at the time that they would be impartial and not “blame or finger-point” at anyone but seek “to cooperate” for peace in the region.

The 461-page report released on 20 January found that between 25 August and 5 September 2017, the Myanmar military carried out a massive offensive against the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) during which war crimes were committed, including the mass murder of nearly 900 people in three Rohingya villages.

In view of this, the EU wants the Myanmar government to comply with the order of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) of 23 January indicating provisional measures with regard to Rakhine State, including preventing all acts of genocide against the Muslim minority and report to the Court on the progress in its efforts.

“We expect the government of Myanmar to fully comply with the ICJ order in the interest of justice,” said the EU Ambassador and EU Member States' Ambassadors and Heads of Mission resident in Myanmar in a press release.

To this end, “The EU stands ready to support the Government of Myanmar in any efforts to address the root causes of the multi-faceted conflict in Rakhine state.”

For her part, State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi last Thursday penned a piece in the Financial Times saying that her country needs more time to bring to justice those who committed war crimes in Rakhine, insisting on the need for them to be prosecuted in Myanmar courts.

“War crimes that may have been committed by members of the Defence Services will be prosecuted through our military justice system,” she wrote.

“We need to respect the integrity of these proceedings and to refrain from unreasonable demands that Myanmar’s criminal justice system complete investigations in a third of the time routinely granted to international processes.”

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