A court martial probing atrocities against persecuted Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has found a mere three military officers guilty, even though the Southeast Asian country faces genocide charges at the United Nations (UN) court over a 2016-2017 crackdown.
The Myanmarese army chief’s office said on Tuesday that the court had confirmed the guilty verdict against three officers.
It provided no details on the perpetrators, their crimes, or sentences.
Reacting to the verdict, the UK-based rights group Amnesty International called the lack of transparency on the court martial “alarming.”
“Closed door trials shrouded in secrecy, and marred by a lack of independence in the military judiciary system, are not the way to end military impunity in Myanmar,” Ming Yu Hah, with Amnesty’s South East Asia & Pacific Regional Office, said.
After initially denying the allegations, the military started court martial proceedings last year, admitting there had been “weakness in following instructions” in Gu Dar Pyin, where at least five shallow mass graves had been found.
In 2018, the military sentenced a number of security forces to a decade in prison for massacring 10 Rohingya in Inn Din Village, but they were released after serving less than a year. Two journalists, who exposed the massacre, were arrested and held for over 16 months before they were “pardoned” following global outrage.
International rights groups and organizations have accused the government forces of committing atrocities in various villages. UN investigators found evidence of extrajudicial killings in other villages in Rakhine, Maung Nu, and Chut Pyin.
Myanmar’s government faces accusations of involvement in genocide regarding the persecuted Rohingya Muslims in a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh following a military-led crackdown in 2016 that the United Nations (UN) concluded was perpetrated with “genocidal intent.”
Thousands of Rohingya people were killed, injured, arbitrarily arrested, or raped by Myanmarese soldiers and Buddhist mobs mainly between November 2016 and August 2017.
The Rohingya have inhabited Rakhine for centuries, but the state denies them citizenship. Bangladesh refuses to grant them citizenship, too.