The Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar has denounced "extreme brutality" by the government against Rohingya Muslims and is looking to convict Myanmar military leaders for "genocidal intent."
Marzuki Darusman, chair of the U.N. Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, said that the nation’s military forces, or Tatmadaw, committed “extreme brutality” as he presented the mission’s 440-page report that details how the Tatmadaw systematically carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya with “genocidal intent.”
Darusman called for Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and five generals to be prosecuted for the gravest crimes under international law.
The Myanmar president dismissed the fact-finding mission summary statement when it was released Aug. 27. President Win Myint’s office said at the time that the brief was "the result of the faulty procedure and is of dubious legal merit."
"Furthermore, allegations consisting of charged narratives of harrowing personal tragedies which have nothing to do with the legal arguments in question were permitted, thereby putting emotional pressure on the Court," responded Myint’s administration in late August.
The military did not comment on Tuesday’s news conference from Geneva and Reuters could not reach the generals named in the report.
Myanmar’s ambassador, Kyaw Moe Tun, said the panel’s findings were “one-sided” and said his government did not recognize its findings.
“Not only is this report detrimental to social cohesion in Rakhine state, it also undermines the government’s efforts to bring peace, national reconciliation, and development to the entire nation,” he told the forum.
Darusman said on Tuesday that there was “no law and no institution in Myanmar that is above the Tatmadaw” and called for an end to what he called its “complete impunity.”
Tatmadaw leaders allegedly ordered its forces to kill at least 10,000 Rohingya in the Rakhine state and to destroy their towns in August 2017 after an insurgent attack, forcing a mass exodus of between 750,000 and 1.1 million of the Rohingya Muslim minority to flee to Bangladesh.
The Myanmar government is restricting Rohingyas’ ability to work and access health care and education in Rakhine since last August’s massacres. “The same system of persecution would await any Rohingya who return,” said Darusman.
On Sept. 6, the International Criminal Court ruled that it has jurisdiction to investigate Myanmar officials for crimes against humanity even though the country, which was under military rule until 2011, is not part of the Hague-based court, because Bangladesh, where most Rohingya fled or were deported to, is.