GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - A U.N. fact-finding mission is calling for Myanmar’s senior leaders to be referred to the International Criminal Court to be investigated and prosecuted for genocide against the Rohingya Muslim minority in northern Rakhine state and, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Kachin and Shan states.
This 400-page groundbreaking report goes into detail about the scope and viciousness of the atrocities it says were committed by Myanmar’s high command against the country’s ethnic minorities. The report accuses the generals of perpetrating what it calls the gravest crimes under international law.
The three-member Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar says the genocidal crimes, which forced the mass exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh one year ago, were planned years in advance.
In an unprecedented move, the U.N. mission has named the six top generals it says bear the main responsibility for planning and executing these crimes. Investigator Christopher Sidoti said the mission has gathered sufficient evidence of the elements of the crime of genocide to recommend they be investigated and prosecuted before an international tribunal.
WATCH: UN report
“In Myanmar, there is a very clear chain of command and there is no doubt in our minds whatsoever that what we saw happen in Rakhine as a whole would not have happened without it firstly being within the knowledge of the senior military leadership and secondly under their effective control. And, it is because of the clarity of the chain of command in Myanmar that we have recommended the investigation and prosecution of these six.”
The report finds the civilian authorities have little power to control the actions of the military; however, it blames them for enabling these crimes by ignoring the atrocities being committed. It also criticizes Aung San Suu Kyi - the human rights activist-turned-politician - as head of the government, for not using her moral authority to prevent the events unfolding in Rakhine state.
The government refused to grant the mission access to majority Buddhist Myanmar. So, the mission gathered evidence from the testimony of 875 victims and eyewitnesses, satellite imagery, documents, photographs and videos.
The mission sent an advance copy of its report to the Myanmar government. So far, there has been no response.