UN investigators on Rohingya genocide say…
Investigators working for the UN’s top human rights body say top Myanmar military leaders should be prosecuted for genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
The United Nations does not apply the word “genocide” lightly. The fact-finding team’s assessment suggests the crimes against the Rohingya could meet the strict legal definition — which was last met over crimes in Bosnia and Rwanda nearly a quarter-century ago.
The call, accompanying a first report by the investigators, amounts to some of the strongest language yet from UN officials who have denounced alleged human rights violations in Myanmar since a bloody crackdown began last August.
Following the UN report, Facebook banned Myanmar’s army chief and removed other pages tied to the country’s military.“We are banning 20 Burmese individuals and organizations from Facebook – including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces,” the social media giant said in a statement on its site, adding that it wants to prevent them from using the service to “further inflame ethnic and religious tensions”.
The three-member “fact-finding mission” working under a mandate from the UN-backed Human Rights Council meticulously assembled hundreds of accounts by expatriate Rohingya, satellite footage and other information to assemble the report released on Monday.
Human rights watchers say determining “genocidal intent” is perhaps the most difficult criteria to meet: in essence, it’s the task of assessing the mindsets of perpetrators to determine if ethnicity, race, religion or another attribute had motivated them.
“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, alluding to a region of Myanmar that is home for many Rohingya.
Adding into their assessment: The extreme brutality of the crimes; “hate rhetoric” and specific speech by perpetrators and military commanders; policies of exclusion against Rohingya people; an “oppressive context;” and the “level of organization indicating a plan for destruction”.
The investigators cited six Myanmar military leaders by name as “priority subjects” for possible prosecution, led by the commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing. A longer list of names is to be kept in the office of the UN human rights chief for possible use in future judicial proceedings. The United States and European Union have already slapped sanctions on some Myanmar military leaders, though Min Aung Hlaing is not among them.—Agencies