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Atrocities in Myanmar

61 perpetrators, 1,040 military locations exposed

  • Diplomatic Correspondent
  • 25 March, 2022 12:00 AM
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61 perpetrators, 1,040 military locations exposed

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In the six months following its February 2021 coup d’état, the Myanmar junta murdered, imprisoned, tortured, disappeared, forcibly displaced, and persecuted civilians in acts that amount to crimes against humanity, said Fortify Rights and the Schell Center for International Human Rights at Yale Law School in a new report released on Thursday.

The report makes new contributions to accountability and international justice efforts targeting the junta’s atrocities since the coup, including by: Identifying 61 senior military and police officials who should be investigated and possibly prosecuted for international crimes; Establishing the locations of 1,040 military units nationwide; Revealing new information about the military chain-of-command during the crackdown on peaceful protesters throughout the country; and Providing the most thorough legal analysis to date of the junta’s widespread and systematic attacks on the people of Myanmar in the first six months after the coup.

“Published just days prior to the one-year anniversary of the Armed Forces Day Massacre, this report provides the international community a better understanding of the junta’s crimes, the individuals responsible, and their battalions’ locations in relation to attacks. U.N. member states must ensure accountability for these ongoing atrocities,” said Tom Andrews, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Robina Senior Fellow at Yale Law School’s Schell Center, and author of the foreword to the report. “This pivotal report on the junta’s horrendous crimes can help guide efforts to ensure accountability.”

The 193-page report, “Nowhere is Safe”: The Myanmar Junta’s Crimes Against Humanity Following the Coup d'etat, is based on more than 120 testimonies, leaked documents and information, and in-depth legal analysis of new evidence. It focuses on the first six months after the military’s attempted coup on February 1, 2021.

For months and often in broad daylight, Myanmar Army soldiers and Myanmar Police Force officers shot and killed unarmed civilians in cities and towns throughout the country, among other atrocities. The report proves how the junta engaged in a premeditated, widespread, and systematic attack on the civilian population.

Among the 61 senior military and police officials named in the report as potentially liable for crimes against humanity are Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Vice Senior General Soe Win, and the Joint Chief of Staff General Mya Tun Oo.

These men are also responsible for what Fortify Rights determined to be genocide and crimes against humanity against the Rohingya in Rakhine State in 2016 and 2017, as well as war crimes in Rakhine State in 2019 and probable crimes against humanity and war crimes in Shan and Kachin states.

Other military and police suspects identified in the report are 19 regional commanders of the police force, 13 regional commanders from the military, and 27 other senior officials from the junta.

The report also provides previously unknown details of the junta’s chain of command during the crackdown, including coup-leader Senior General Min Aung Hlaing’s establishment of a “Special Command” in Naypyidaw.

According to active-duty military personnel, the Special Command had sole authority to deploy and command troops in civilian-populated cities and townships where soldiers have not typically been operational. Without orders from the Special Command, no others in the chain-of-command had the authority to move troops into civilian-populated cities and townships in central Myanmar.