The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar on September 18, 2018, released the full 440-page account of the findings of its 15-month examination of the situation in three states in Myanmar. The report also makes dozens of recommendations, including to the United Nations and the international community and to the Government of Myanmar. It reiterates the Fact-Finding Mission’s call for the investigation and prosecution of Myanmar’s Commander-in-Chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, and his top military leaders for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
“Peace will not be achieved while the Tatmadaw remains above the law,” Marzuki Darusman, chair of the Fact-Finding Mission stated. “The Tatmadaw is the greatest impediment to Myanmar’s development as a modern democratic nation. The Commander-in-Chief of the Tatmadaw, Min Aung Hlaing, and all the current leadership must be replaced, and a complete restructuring must be undertaken to place the Tatmadaw under full civilian control. Myanmar’s democratic transition depends on it.”
Following the release of its 20-page report to the Human Rights Council of its main findings on August 27, 2018, the Mission has now released its full report, unprecedented in its scope. The full report establishes the clear patterns of violations by the Myanmar military, known as the Tatmadaw, across the country, and the legal analysis on which the recommendations are based.
Drawing on 875 detailed interviews conducted in locations in five countries, the report illustrates, in graphic detail, the violent modus operandi that is the hallmark of Tatmadaw operations against its own people. The Mission was struck by how similar the Tatmadaw operations and conduct were in all three States.
“During their operations, the Tatmadaw has systematically targeted civilians, including women and children, committed sexual violence, voiced and promoted exclusionary and discriminatory rhetoric against minorities, and established a climate of impunity for its soldiers,” said Marzuki Darusman. “The full findings we are releasing today show why, in our report to the Human Rights Council, we insist that the perpetrators of the gross human rights violations and international crimes, committed in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States must not go unpunished. They also show why the top generals should be investigated and prosecuted for genocide in Rakhine State. I have never been confronted by crimes as horrendous and on such a scale as these.”
The report sets out in extensive detail its findings on the extreme violence perpetrated against the Rohingya in Rakhine State since 25 August 2017, in what the Tatmadaw referred to as ‘clearance operations’. It documents in unsparing detail how the Tatmadaw took the lead in killing thousands of Rohingya civilians, as well as forced disappearances, mass gang rape and the burning of hundreds of villages.
Save the Children’s Country Director in Myanmar, Michael McGrath said: “The full report reinforces the preliminary findings released three weeks ago and makes a powerful case for the UN Security Council to refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court without delay. Save the Children supports this recommendation.
“Going forward, there must be a move towards investigations for prosecution in order to ensure accountability, which is crucial to achieving justice for those who have suffered at the hands of the Myanmar military and other groups.
“This report provides the final proof that the world must take action. It shows clearly that the actions and atrocities committed by the Myanmar military cannot be dismissed as the response to terrorist attacks but rather as the culmination of a foreseeable, planned, and enduring catastrophe which requires an international response.”