US report says, Myanmar army 'should face genocide charges'

Aug 28, 2018, 09:10 IST | Agencies

A UN report says top army figures must answer for crimes against Rohingya muslims

US report says, Myanmar army 'should face genocide charges'
The report, based on hundreds of interviews, is the strongest condemnation from the UN so far of violence against Rohingyas. Pic/AFP

Investigators working for the UN's top human rights body said yesterday that top Myanmar military leaders should be prosecuted for genocide against Rohingya Muslims. 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.

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. The UN-backed Human Rights Council created the mission six months before a rebel attack on security posts set off the crackdown that drove hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh.

Through hundreds of interviews with expatriate Rohingya and use of satellite footage, the team compiled accounts of crimes including gang rape, the torching of hundreds of villages, enslavement, and killings of children — some before their eyes of their parents. The team was not granted access to Myanmar and has decried a lack of cooperation or even response from the government, which received an early copy of the report.

The team cited a "conservative" estimate that some 10,000 people were killed in the violence, but outside investigators have had no access to the affected regions — making a precise accounting elusive, if not impossible.

Above all, the investigators said the situation in Myanmar should be referred to the International Criminal Court, and if not, to a special tribunal. Last week, Myanmar's government rejected any cooperation with the ICC, to which it is not a party. China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto power over whether the issue will be brought before the ICC, has been reticent about condemning Myanmar's government during the crisis.

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