Myanmar’s military orchestrated mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” and its top officials should be prosecuted for their part in the “atrocity crimes,” U.N. investigators said on Monday.
The Report of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar found mass killings, rape and other forms of sexual violence were “perpetrated on a massive scale.”
It said that the civilian government led by Aung San Suu Kyi also allowed hate speech to thrive, destroyed documents and failed to protect minorities from crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The report said that this “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes.”
It names six senior military figures it believes should go on trial at the International Criminal Court.
The report was based off almost 900 interviews that were used to ascertain “factual findings” that are based on the “reasonable grounds” standard of proof.
“This standard was met when a sufficient and reliable body of primary information, consistent with other information, would allow an ordinarily prudent person to reasonably conclude that an incident or pattern of conduct occurred,” the report said.
In 2017, the military carried out a crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) attacked 30 Myanmar police posts and a military base.
The report said the crackdown was grossly disproportionate to the offence.
Some 700,000 Rohingya fled that violence and most are now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
On August 29, the U.S. ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said its own report was “consistent” with the UN’s findings.
“The report identifies one group as the perpetrator of the overwhelming majority of these crimes: the Burmese military and security forces,” Haley said, referring to the U.S. report.
“The world can no longer avoid the difficult truth of what happened,” she said.
The U.S. report, which is not yet published, is the work of the country’s State Department which is compiled from 1,024 interviews at refugee camps in Bangladesh and completed in late April.
It has been held up by internal deliberations, a State Department spokesperson told Reuters.