Media Release from Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK
Myanmar’s deeply flawed investigation into human rights abuses in Rakhine State is another attempt to whitewash the Tatmadaw’ s brutal violence against the Rohingya, the Burmese Rohingya Organisation UK (BROUK) said.
The Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) today announced that its investigation into the Tatmadaw’ s “clearance operation” in 2017 found evidence of “war crimes” and “serious human rights abuses”, but not genocidal intent. The full report is yet to be made public.
“ICOE has been deeply flawed from the start, with serious questions about its mandate and lack of independence. Today’s announcement is a blatant PR exercise to deflect attention from the International Court of Justice’s ruling later this week. It is simply another attempt by the Myanmar authorities to sweep the Rohingya genocide under the carpet,” said Tun Khin.
The ICEO press release issued today essentially fails to mention the word “Rohingya”, a tried and tested tactic of the Myanmar authorities to dehumanize and deny the identity of a whole group of people.
ICEO further seems to imply that any abuses by Myanmar security forces were merely acts of individual soldiers. This fails to pin the blame on senior Myanmar military officers that other experts have credibly linked to atrocity crimes, including Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, the Commander-in-Chief.
It also concerning that the Tatmadaw officers accused of crimes will likely be tried in domestic military courts, which lack the independence and transparency to deliver justice. In April 2018, for example, military courts jailed seven soldiers for their role in massacring Rohingya civilians in the village of Inn Din in 2017. The soldiers were however pardoned and released less than a year later.
ICOE’s announcement today appears to be timed to coincide with the Gambia’s genocide case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ). On Thursday 23rd January, the ICJ will announce whether to impose provisional measures on Myanmar, effectively a legal injunction barring Myanmar from further genocidal acts against Rohingya.
“Myanmar has for years made it abundantly clear that it simply cannot be trusted to investigate itself. Past fact-finding bodies have been little more than window dressing for the international community, which have completely failed to deliver justice,” said Tun Khin.
“Thankfully, momentum is building for international justice. This week, we hope that the International Court of Justice will impose strong provisional measures on Myanmar, ordering them to end genocidal practices against the Rohingya.”