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

  • All inbound flights set to face added scrutiny

    Ministry of Health spokesperson Or Vandine said on Monday that the ministry is monitoring all inbound flights, after it was announced that only those from Malaysia and Indonesia will be temporarily cancelled from August 1. Vandine said on Monday that the two countries were identified as

  • Flights from Indonesia, Malaysia cancelled

    A Ministry of Health official has warned of the possibility of Covid-19 spreading through community transmission after the total infected cases in the Kingdom rose to 225. Ministry spokeswoman Or Vandine told reporters on Saturday that the possibility of community transmission cannot be overlooked and that

  • Man in quarantine dies of ‘overdose’

    The Ministry of Health on Thursday said a Cambodian migrant worker who died while being isolated at a quarantine centre in Tbong Khmum province’s Kroch Chhmar district may have died from syncope or overdose of tablets. In a statement, the ministry said the 21-year-old

  • Ministry set to reopen 20 schools in August

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport will allow 20 high-safety-standards schools to reopen next month despite new cases of Covid-19 in the country. Ministry spokesperson Ros Soveacha wrote in a Telegram message on Wednesday that the schools are in Phnom Penh, Siem Reap and Battambang.