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UN Special Panel Accuses Myanmar of 'Genocidal Intent' in 2017 Rohingya Crackdown


Rohingya refugees take part in a protest at the Kutupalong refugee camp to mark the one-year anniversary of their exodus from Myanmar, in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 25, 2018.

A special United Nations investigative panel has accused Myanmar's military of carrying out numerous atrocities during last year's crackdown against the Rohingya Muslims "with genocidal intent" and is calling for an international probe and prosecution of its top generals.

In a scathing report issued Monday from the U.N.'s offices in Geneva, the investigative panel said General Min Aung Hlaing, the commander-in-chief of Myanmar's army, and five other generals, should be tried for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The panel urged the U.N. Security Council to refer the matter to the International Criminal Court, or by creating an ad hoc, or special, tribunal to investigate the matter.

The panel, sanctioned by the U.N. Human Rights Council, based its report on interviews with hundreds of the 700,000 Rohingya refugees forced to flee across the border from their home in northern Rakhine state into Bangladesh after the military launched an offensive in response to a series of attacks by Rohingya militants on security outposts. The witnesses revealed numerous atrocities including gang rapes, the torching of entire villages and extrajudicial killings.

Rohingya refugee women arrange a cradle for child in their makeshift tent in the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 23, 2018.
Rohingya refugee women arrange a cradle for child in their makeshift tent in the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, Aug. 23, 2018.

The report concluded the military's actions were "grossly disproportionate to actual security threats."

The investigators also denounced Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto leader, for failing to use her position and "her moral authority" to stop the Rohingya crisis from occurring. Aung San Suu Kyi is a Nobel Peace Prize laureate for her decades-long struggle against Myanmar's former military regime, but her reputation has been damaged internationally for failing to speak out in support of the Rohingya.

The U.N. and the United States have long described Myanmar's military actions in Rakhine State as "textbook example" of ethnic cleansing.

The government has yet to comment on the U.N. panel's findings. It has consistently denied the allegations of ethnic cleansing or other atrocities by its military.

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