Investigators call for genocide prosecutions over slaughter of Rohingyas

Pompeo Decries ‘Abhorrent Ethnic Cleansing' in Myanmar

Pompeo Decries ‘Abhorrent Ethnic Cleansing' in Myanmar

The report, the culmination of over a year's worth of interviews, research and analysis by a United Nations -mandated fact-finding mission, significantly challenges the Myanmar military's decades-long assertions, both in Rakhine state and elsewhere, that it is merely responding to security challenges posed to the state in the operations.

The report also noted that Myanmar authorities "do not tolerate scrutiny or criticism" and have used various laws to arrest, detain or harass human rights defenders and journalists, pointing to the case against two Reuters journalists who exposed the killings of Rohingya men in Inn Din, in Rakhine state, jailed since December.

The investigators cited six Myanmar military leaders by name as "priority subjects" for possible prosecution, led by the commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing. The United States and European Union have already slapped sanctions on some Myanmar military leaders, though Min Aung Hlaing is not among them.

Myanmar has vehemently denied allegations of ethnic cleansing, insisting it was responding to attacks by Rohingya rebels.

Worldwide 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.

United Nations investigators on Monday called for an global probe and prosecution of Myanmar's army chief and five other top military commanders for genocide against the country's Rohingya minority. China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council with veto power over whether the issue will be brought before the ICC, has been reticent about condemning Myanmar's government during the crisis.

Human rights watchers say determining "genocidal intent" is perhaps the most hard criteria to meet: In essence, it's the task of assessing the mindsets of perpetrators to determine if ethnicity, race, religion or another attribute had motivated them.

The government, led by Nobel Peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, has denied refugees' allegations of atrocities, saying security forces lawfully suppressed Muslim militants in Rakhine.

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The four other generals the United Nations panel said should be prosecuted were named as the army deputy commander-in-chief, Vice Senior-General Soe Win; the commander of the Bureau of Special Operations-3, Lieutenant-General Aung Kyaw Zaw; the commander of Western Regional Military Command, Major-General Maung Maung Soe; and the commander of 99th Light Infantry Division, Brigadier-General Than Oo.

The panel, set up previous year, interviewed 875 victims and witnesses in Bangladesh and other countries, and analyzed documents, videos, photographs and satellite images.

"The US will continue to hold those responsible accountable", Pompeo wrote.

The U.N. fact-finding mission will present a fuller report with more detailed facts and legal analysts to the Human Rights Council on September 18. The campaign of violence against the Rohingya began exactly a year ago.

"Although improved in recent months, Facebook's response has been slow and ineffective", the report said, calling for an independent investigation of the extent to which posts and messages on the platform had "led to real-world discrimination and violence".

Facebook said on Monday it was removing certain Myanmar military officials from the social media website and an Instagram account to prevent the spread of "hate and misinformation" after reviewing the content.

"We are banning 20 Burmese individuals and organisations from Facebook - including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, commander-in-chief of the armed forces", Facebook said in a statement, adding that it wants to prevent them from using the service to "further inflame ethnic and religious tensions".

Myanmar rejects the charges but has admitted the killings investigated by Reuters took place. His sentence was later cut to 35 years on appeal. He is appealing against the conviction. He remains in office.

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