Myanmar military leaders should face ‘genocide’ charges

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The UN report said Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of Myanmar's armed forces, and five generals should be prosecuted for orchestrating the gravest crimes under law.

They blamed the country's de facto civilian leader, Nobel Peace Prize victor Aung San Suu Kyi, for failing to use her "moral authority" to protect civilians.

In Rakhine state, the report also found elements of extermination and deportation "similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocide intent to be established in other contexts". Some of the most serious violations were committed by the divisions reporting directly to the Deputy Commander-in-Chief General Soe Win.

The U.S., which has described the stateless Rohingya as facing "ethnic cleansing", and the European Union have begun applying sanctions to selected military officers involved in the Rakhine campaign, though not Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

Investigators, working under a mandate from the UN-backed Human Rights Council, called for an worldwide investigation, for the Security Council to impose targeted sanctions and an arms embargo on the entire country.

Myanmar has denied allegations made by refugees, saying its troops engaged in lawful counterinsurgency operations against Muslim militants.

Global pressure on Myanmar has been growing as U.N. -mandated investigators are set to publish a report on the crisis on Monday and the United Nations Security Council will hold a briefing on Myanmar on Tuesday.

UN leaders, foreign government officials, and human rights watchers have for months cited evidence of genocide in Myanmar, and the United States late past year said that "ethnic cleansing" was occurring in Myanmar.

The Mission report concluded "there is sufficient information to warrant the investigation and prosecution of senior officials in the Tatmadaw chain of command, so that a competent court can determine their liability for genocide in relation to the situation in Rakhine State". Brig. Gen. Maung Maung, a military representative in Parliament, said the army doesn't have any comment on the United Nations report.

"The military's contempt for human life, dignity and freedom - for global law in general - should be a cause of concern for the entire population of Myanmar, and to the worldwide community as a whole", said fact-finding mission chair Marzuki Darusman, a former Indonesian attorney-general, at a news conference. "And that is the role of the commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing". Instead, investigators relied on satellite imagery, photographs and videos and "875 in-depth interviews with victims and eyewitnesses".

The UN Fact Finding Mission's conclusions on human rights violations in Burma since 2011, in particular the truly horrific violence from August past year in Rakhine, come as no surprise.

Business Insider also reported that attacks against the Rohingya ramped up in 2016 after a Rohingya insurgent group killed 10 Myanmar police officers in an attack.

Decades of state-sponsored stigmatization against Rohingya had resulted in "institutionalized oppression from birth to death", the report said.

The military ruled Myanmar for almost 50 years after seizing power in a 1962 coup and retains considerable powers under a 2008 constitution.

"The Tatmadaw acts with complete impunity and has never been held accountable". In the same post, Facebook said the move was meant to prevent inflammatory posts from these accounts.

The social media giant was previously accused by United Nations experts of helping incite violence in Myanmar and failing to take measures to stop the spread of hate and anti-Rohinyga propaganda on its platform.

"We want to prevent them from using our service to further inflame ethnic and religious tensions", Facebook said in a post, noting that around 12 million have followed the pages.

"While we were too slow to act, we're now making progress", the company said.