On June 29, 2020, the Myanmar military announced that three of its officers were found guilty and convicted by a court-martial for the 2017 massacre of Rohingyas in Gu Dar Pyin village of Buthidaung township, where five mass graves were previously uncovered. No details were provided on the perpetrators, their crimes or sentences, keeping the people in the dark.
This secret trial without transparency is a complete miscarriage of justice. The Arakan Rohingya National Organisation (ARNO) with the Rohingya people rejects these results and demands a transparent and impartial probe into the crimes against Rohingya in Myanmar by a competent international independent commission.
For years the Myanmar military has denied any atrocities against Rohingya; and the State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi told the International Court of Justice, in December 2019, that the government largely supported the army’s justification of the 2017 military “operations.”
UN investigators reported they found widespread evidence of extrajudicial killings, rapes, and arson attacks perpetrated with genocidal intent and called for the prosecution of top army generals, including commander-in-chief Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, for genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. They also concluded that Myanmar’s civilian authorities, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, have not met their “responsibility to protect the civilian [Rohingya] population”. It also called on the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court or create an ad hoc international criminal tribunal.
In March 2018, the first court-martial sentenced four military officers and three soldiers to 10 years in prison for killing 10 Rohingya men in Inn Din village. But the perpetrators were released in less than one year whereas the two Reuters journalists, who exposed the massacre, were detained for more than 16 months before they were pardoned following a global outcry.
All these were sham attempts to hold genocidaires to account aimed at reducing international pressure and to divert the world’s attention away from the Rohingya genocide. We cannot expect justice from the perpetrators.
ARNO calls upon the Myanmar military at this juncture at the very least to identify the perpetrators, crimes of which they have been accused, and their sentences. For genuine accountability measures, however, ARNO calls again for an independent international Commission into the crimes against Rohingya.