02/22/2020, 15.57
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Myanmar military to put soldiers on trial for Rohingya killings

“We are working on these cases not because of international pressure, but because of our responsibility and accountability,” said a military spokesman. Myanmar’s Armed Forces will follow recommendations from the president and the final report of a commission of enquiry established by Aung San Suu Kyi. The document, which was made public on 20 January, found evidence of mass killings, including nearly 900 Rohingya.

Naypyidaw (AsiaNews/Agencies) – The Myanmar military announced yesterday that it will investigate and open court-martial proceedings against soldiers accused of mass killings during the 2017 military operations against Rohingya insurgents in northern Rakhine State.

The decision follows recommendations from Myanmar President Win Myint and the Independent Commission of Inquiry (ICoE) established by State Counsellor  Aung San Suu Kyi in August 2018 to shed light on the violence perpetrated against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

The ICoE published its final report on 20 January. In 461 pages, the commission found that war crimes were committed between 25 August and 5 September 2017 during the army's massive offensive against the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), including the killing of nearly 900 people in three Rohingya villages.

The ICoE account however rejects the claim that the killings and population displacement had "genocidal intent" in direct contradiction of investigations by the United Nations. The report contains 22 recommendations, urging the Myanmar government and the country's armed forces to continue their investigations.

President Win Myint sent the report to General Min Aung Hlaing, Commander-in-Chief of Myanmar’s Defence Services, to prosecute the military personnel responsible for the violence.

Yesterday the army said it had reviewed the accounts of the atrocities in the villages of Maung Nu and Chut Pyin.

According to the ICoE, at least a hundred civilians were killed in Chut Pyin, and around two hundred in Maung Nu.

The Commission also found that 19 civilians were killed in Gutar Pyin, a village in Buthidaung Township, and that “nearly 500-600 civilians from Min Gyi Village in Maungdaw Township were killed in armed clashes between security forces and ARSA on Aug. 29, 2017”.

The military opened court martial proceedings against a group of soldiers over the Gutar Pyin killings in November last year.

“We have already reviewed the Maung Nu and Chut Pyin villages cases,” said yesterday Myanmar military spokesman Brigadier General Zaw Min Tun.

“We will work on these cases by forming a court of inquiry, and then we will refer the cases to the court-martial and decide them according to military law.”

“We are working on these cases not because of international pressure, but because of our responsibility and accountability,” he said.

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