Myanmar’s army 'killed Muslim Rohingyas with genocidal intent’

A Rohingya woman at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh on Friday

Myanmar's military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with "genocidal intent" and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for orchestrating the gravest crimes under law, United Nations investigators said Monday.

Criticism was also directed at Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate who has been the target of global vitriol for a perceived failure to stand up for the stateless minority.

In Rakhine state, the report also found elements of extermination and deportation "similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocide intent to be established in other contexts".

"The Fact-Finding Mission's powerful report and clear recommendations demonstrate the obvious need for concrete steps to advance criminal justice for atrocious crimes, instead of more hollow condemnations and expressions of concern", said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Those it recommended as "priority subjects for investigation and prosecution" included top commander Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing.

Suu Kyi's government has rejected most allegations of atrocities made against the security forces by refugees.

In a report, they called for the U.N. Security Council to set up an ad hoc tribunal to try suspects or refer them to the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

The ban included two pages dedicated to the army's commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, that have been the military's primary outlet for information, especially around the crisis in the western state of Rakhine a year ago.

UN leaders, foreign government officials, and human rights watchers have for months cited evidence of genocide in Myanmar, and the United States late previous year said that "ethnic cleansing" was occurring in Myanmar. The civilian government, the report said, failed to speak out against unfolding events, spread "false narratives, oversaw the destruction of evidence in Rakhine state and blocked independent investigations".

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Business Insider also reported that attacks against the Rohingya ramped up in 2016 after a Rohingya insurgent group killed 10 Myanmar police officers in an attack.

Social media giant Facebook has suspended several pages tied to Myanmar's army chief General Min Aung Hlaing and the country's military. "And that is the role of the commander-in-chief, Min Aung Hlaing".

The 20-page report consisting of its main findings was based on 847 interviews, satellite imagery, authenticated documents, photographs, and video, and covered serious abuses in Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin States from 2011 to the present.

The report said the situation was a "catastrophe looming for decades", and an inevitable result of "severe, systemic and institutionalised oppression from birth to death". "The U.S. will continue to hold those responsible accountable". The report concluded that these violations reflect a longstanding pattern of conduct by the Myanmar military authorities and the need to end the cycle of impunity.

"The main perpetrator, the people that we want the spotlight on, is the Tatmadaw", said mission member Radhika Coomaraswamy, a Sri Lankan former United Nations undersecretary-general, referring to Myanmar's military. A Reuters investigative report published earlier this month found that Facebook was "failing" to end hate speech against the Rohingya and other Muslims. "The extent to which Facebook posts and messages have led to real-world discrimination and violence must be independently and thoroughly examined".

In a blog post on Monday, August 27, Facebook said it removed 18 Facebook accounts, one Instagram account, and 52 Facebook Pages with a combined following of nearly 12 million people.

"While we were too slow to act, we're now making progress", the company said.