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Amnesty welcomes ICC ruling paving way to Myanmar probe

Decision significant step in right direction, says Amnesty official

By Ahmet Gurhan Kartal

LONDON – A decision by the International Criminal Court in the Hague, which paves the way for investigations into atrocities targeting the Rohingya minority is a “clear signal” to Myanmar, according to a senior official from the Amnesty International.

“This decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya who were driven out of their homes, often as soldiers opened fire on them and burned down their villages,” Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director of Amnesty,” said on Friday.

“The Court has sent a clear signal to the Myanmar military that they will be held accountable,” he said.

The ICC has ruled it could investigate Myanmar for the alleged deportation of the Rohingya to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity. The unprecedented decision could expose the country’s politicians and army generals to charges.

The decision by the ICC came a week after the UN released a report documenting mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In its report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

“Forced deportation is just one of a raft of crimes committed against the Rohingya,” Patnaik said in a statement.

“Amnesty International has documented extensively how the military’s crackdown also included murder, rape, torture, forced starvation, the targeted burning of Rohingya villages and the use of landmines,” he added.

The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar last week called on Myanmar’s top military officials, including army commander-in-chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, to be tried at the International Criminal Court for genocide committed against Rohingya Muslims.

On Aug. 25, 2017, Myanmar launched a major military crackdown on the Muslim ethnic minority, killing almost 24,000 civilians and forcing 750,000 others, including women and children, to flee to Bangladesh, according to the Ontario International Development Agency.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

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