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Myanmar president calls for prosecutions for Rohingya killings

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Myanmar President Win Myint has called for the prosecution of soliders that killed Rohingya civilians during a 2017 military campaign that forced more than 730,000 of the minority to flee to Bangladesh. The announcement from President Myint’s office came after a nominally independent commission concluded soldiers had committed war crimes but not genocide, a finding that angered rights groups. “The president concurs that there need to be further criminal investigations,’’ the statement said. However, activists say low-ranking soldiers are being targeted to shield senior generals from international justice. On Thursday, the UN’s top court may rule to impose urgent measures to prevent an ongoing alleged genocide against the Rohingya. It is one of three international lawsuits aimed at securing justice for the group. The Myanmar government-appointed Independent Commission Of Enquiry (ICOE) said soldiers had used disproportionate force and committed serious violations including killings of innocent villagers and destruction of their homes. The commission said there was insufficient evidence to argue, much less conclude that the violence was carried out with genocidal intent, contradicting the view of UN experts. The four-member commission was headed by Filipino diplomat Rosario Manalo The commission said it travelled to Rakhine state for its probe but made no mention of visiting refugee camps in Bangladesh, where the majority of reports of atrocities have been collected. Nay San Lwin, co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition said “the Commission has not established facts, but merely handed over a thick pack of lies, distortions and denial for Myanmar to use at various international tribunals.’’

Edited by: Hadiza Mohammed/Isaac Aregbesola

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