Myanmar Govt Rejects UN Report on Military Human Rights Violations

By The Irrawaddy 28 August 2018

YANGON—A spokesperson of the Myanmar government has rejected the UN fact-finding mission’s report which calls for genocide charges against the country’s military leadership for attacking Muslim Rohingya and which also blames the country’s de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi for failing to intervene.

The UN Human Rights Council released its ‘Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar’ on Monday. The council set up the mission in March 2017 based on its resolution “to establish the facts and circumstances of the alleged recent human rights violations by military and security forces, and abuses, in Myanmar, in particular in Rakhine State.’

A member of the mission Christopher Sidoti told media on Monday the mission has concluded that criminal investigation and prosecution is warranted, and should focus on top Tatmadaw (Myanmar’s military) generals in relation to three categories of crimes under international law: genocide, crime against humanity and war crimes.

“The Security Council should act to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or to establish a special ad hoc tribunal on Myanmar,” he said.

The report names the Myanmar Army’s commander-in-chief, Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing, and five other generals who should face justice.

A few hours after the report was launched on Monday, U Zaw Htay, the spokesperson of Myanmar President Office told media that the government had “a clear view” on the fact finding mission’s report.

“Precisely speaking, Myanmar didn’t accept the UNHRC’s resolution, so we reject the mission’s actions to implement the resolution,” he said.

The spokesperson said Myanmar has dissociated itself from the UNHRC’s resolution (since last year) and rejected the formation of fact finding mission.

“When the mission asked for permission to visit Myanmar, we didn’t allow it and we replied we wouldn’t collaborate as we didn’t agree with the resolution,” he said.

The report said the mission had requested in-country access four times from September last year through to March 2018 but received no official response.

“This report was shared with the government prior to its public release. No response was received,” the report stated.

On Monday, the mission’s chairman Marzuki Darusman told media that the single most significant factor had been addressed in the report.

“There’s the role of Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and the only way forward is to call for [his] resignation and stepping down immediately,” he said.

Radhika Coomaraswamy, also a member of the mission said, “We are deeply disappointed with the State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi as [she has] not used her position or her moral authority to stand up, prevent or condemn the unfolding events in Rakhine State.”

Regarding the events in Rakhine State, the report names military leaders to be prosecuted, namely Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief, Snr-Gen Min Aung Hlaing, as well as Deputy Commander-in-Chief, Vice Senior-General Soe Win; Commander, Bureau of Special Operations-3, Lieutenant-General Aung Kyaw Zaw;  Commander, Western Regional Military Command, Major-General Maung Maung Soe; Commander, 33rdLight Infantry Division, Brigadier-General Aung Aung, Commander; and 99th Light Infantry Division, Brigadier-General Than Oo,” says the report.

This is not the first call for their prosecution. In June this year, the same individuals were named in Amnesty International’s report which also stated that the senior leaders along with their subordinates should be tried for crimes against humanity for the military’s actions against the Rohingya community in northern Rakhine State last year.