United Nations fact-finding mission seeks prosecution of Tatmadaw leaders


It is now essential the Burmese government sets out how its Commission of Inquiry will be able to investigate these crimes with full impartiality and how it will be linked to a judicial process to hold those responsible to account.

Some 700,000 Rohingya Muslims fled northern Rakhine state to Bangladesh after Myanmar launched a brutal crackdown in August a year ago on insurgents amid accounts of arson, murder and rape at the hands of soldiers and vigilante mobs in the mainly Buddhist country. Over 25,000 Rohingya have been killed and over 700,000 have fled to Bangladesh. "The Tatmadaw's tactics are consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats, especially in Rakhine State, but also in northern Myanmar", the report said.

"The crimes in Rakhine state, and the manner in which they were perpetrated, are similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that..." The civilian government, the report said, failed to speak out against unfolding events, spread "false narratives, oversaw the destruction of evidence in Rakhine state and blocked independent investigations".

The UN report found that crimes against humanity allegedly committed in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine states include murder; imprisonment; enforced disappearance; torture; rape, sexual slavery and other forms of sexual violence; persecution and enslavement.

The U.N. panel, led by former Indonesian attorney-general Marzuki Darusman, named the Myanmar army's commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and five other generals who should face justice.

Reuters was unable to contact Min Aung Hlaing or Aung Aung on Monday.

Wa Lone, 32, and Kyaw Soe Oo, 28, have been detained in Myanmar's infamous Insein prison since December in a case which has sparked a global outcry. But it has admitted that the killing of 10 men and boys investigated by Reuters in the village of Inn Din took place and sentenced seven soldiers for the crime.

Contacted by phone, Myanmar military spokesman Major General Tun Tun Nyi said he could not immediately comment. Instead, investigators relied on satellite imagery, photographs and videos and "875 in-depth interviews with victims and eyewitnesses".

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In Europe, some condolences also hinted at McCain's role as a vocal critic of the current administration. The senator spent New Year's Eve with the soldiers, telling them, "Your struggle is our struggle".

Decades of state-sponsored stigmatization against Rohingya had resulted in "institutionalized oppression from birth to death", the report said. Brig. Gen. Maung Maung, a military representative in Parliament, said the army doesn't have any comment on the United Nations report.

The UN report singled out Facebook for its "slow and ineffective" response. In the same post, Facebook said the move was meant to prevent inflammatory posts from these accounts.

At a press conference, the mission said the actions in Myanmar account to the "gravest crimes under worldwide law", stating that "criminal prosecution is warranted", under the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

Facebook says it's banning 20 Myanmarese individuals and organizations, including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing - the commander-in-chief of the nation's armed forces - and the military's Myawady television network.

Today, we are taking more action in Myanmar, removing a total of 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account and 52 Facebook Pages, followed by nearly 12 million people.

Last week, Facebook, along with Twitter Inc (TWTR.N) and Google's Alphabet Inc (GOOGL.O), removed hundreds of accounts tied to an alleged Iranian propaganda operation.

In September 2017, U.N. Human Rights chief Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein called the situation in Myanmar a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing", condemning the government's lack of response and calling on them to "stop claiming the Rohingyas are setting fire to their own homes and laying waste to their own villages". The report urges the prosecution of military leaders for genocide.