A new judicial body is needed to mediate the claims of prosecution and investigate human rights violations against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, United Nations Human Rights Chief Michelle Bachelet said Monday.
“The persistence of these patterns of violations underscores the total impunity accorded to the Myanmar security forces,” Bachelet said, denouncing the continual rise of reports of executions, torture, and sexual violence in the Kachin and Shan states.
A year ago, government troops led a brutal crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base. Some 700,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown and most are now living in refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh.
An independent U.N. team of investigators said in a report last month that there was evidence indicating “genocidal intent” by the military against Rohingya and that crimes against humanity and war crimes appear to have been committed.
The new mechanism - similar to what has been set up for crimes in Syria - would complement and support the preliminary examination of the ICC prosecutor.
The UN Human rights official, who took office on September 1, said the judicial group would be “immensely important” to ending impunity and the “enormous suffering” of the Rohingya people.
“I also welcome efforts by Member States at this Council to establish an independent international mechanism for Myanmar, to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence of the most serious international crimes, in order to expedite fair and independent trials in national and international courts,” said Bachelet.
“I urge the Council to pass a resolution and refer the matter to the (U.N.) General Assembly for its endorsement so that such a mechanism can be established,” she said.
Despite allegations, Myanmar officials have continued to deny claims of leading a genocide against the minority group.