Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Myanmar finds military officers guilty of atrocities



Myanmar finds military officers guilty of atrocities

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Some 750,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh with accounts of widespread murder, rape and arson. AFP

Myanmar finds military officers guilty of atrocities

Three Myanmar military officers were found guilty by a court-martial investigating atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in conflict-ridden Rakhine state, the army announced on Tuesday.

The rare action against military members came as Myanmar faces charges of genocide at the UN’s top court over a brutal 2017 crackdown against the Rohingya.

Some 750,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh with accounts of widespread murder, rape and arson.

Rights groups accused security forces of committing atrocities in various villages, including Gu Dar Pyin, where they alleged at least five shallow mass graves had been found.

Estimates from survivors in Bangladesh put the death toll in the hundreds.

After initially denying the allegations, the military started court-martial proceedings in September, admitting there had been “weakness in following instructions” in the village.

The commander-in-chief’s office announced on Tuesday that the court-martial had “confirmed the guilty verdict” and sentenced three officers.

No details were provided on the perpetrators, their crimes, or sentences.

Rights groups Amnesty International called the lack of transparency on the court-martial “alarming”.

Amnesty’s Ming Yu Hah said: “Closed-door trials shrouded in secrecy, and marred by a lack of independence in the military judiciary system, are not the way to end military impunity in Myanmar.”

The government has largely supported the army’s justification of the 2017 operations as a means of rooting out insurgents.

Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi admitted at the International Court of Justice in December, however, that disproportionate force may have been used.

The military has maintained any atrocities were committed by a few maverick individuals.

UN investigators also found evidence of extrajudicial killings in other Rakhine villages, Maung Nu and Chut Pyin.

The army chief’s office on Tuesday said a court of inquiry would “continue to investigate” events at both villages.

In 2018, the military sentenced members of the security forces to a decade in prison for the killing of 10 Rohingya in Inn Din village, but they were released after serving less than a year.

Two journalists who exposed the massacre were detained for more than 16 months before they were pardoned following a global outcry.

The state remains a flashpoint of ethnic and religious tensions, and the military has been locked in battle since January last year with insurgents fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.

Intensified fighting over the weekend drew alarm from the UN on Sunday, who called for both sides to respect international humanitarian law as thousands more civilians fled their homes from artillery shelling.

MOST VIEWED

  • Locations shut, dozens more Covid-19 positive

    The Ministry of Health has closed 23 locations in connection with the February 20 community transmission of Covid-19 and summoned for testing anyone who had direct contact with affected people and places. The number of discovered related infections has risen to 76, including 39 women. In a press release,

  • Kingdom's Covid cluster cases jump to 194

    The Ministry of Health on February 25 confirmed 65 new cases of Covid-19, with 58 linked to the February 20 community transmission. The latest cluster cases include nine Vietnamese nationals, five Cambodians, one each from Korea, Singapore and Japan, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total number

  • Cambodia's Covid cluster cases rise to 137

    The Ministry of Health on February 24 recorded 40 more cases of Covid-19, with 38 linked to the February 20 community transmission. Of the 40, two are imported cases involving Chinese passengers. The 38 include two Vietnamese nationals and one Cambodian, with the rest being Chinese. This brings the total cases

  • Covid cluster raises alarm, health bodies urge vigilance

    The Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation (WHO) in Cambodia have expressed great concern over the February 20 cluster transmission of Covid-19 in the community. Both entities appealed for vigilance and cooperation in curbing further spread of the virus. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine said

  • PM confirms third Covid-19 community transmission

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on February 20 announced the Kingdom's third outbreak of Covid-19 community transmission after 32 people tested positive in just over 10 hours. Addressing the public from his residence after an emergency meeting, Hun Sen said: "I dub it February 20 Community Event, in which 32 cases

  • Cambodia to make auto-rickshaws

    Locally-assembled electric auto-rickshaws could hit the Cambodian market as soon as early in May after the Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC) gave the greenlight to an investment project at the weekend. According to a CDC press release, it will issue a final registration