Myanmar guilty of war crimes, not genocide: ICOE

Rohingya refugees at Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh | The Hindu

Apoorva Sudhakar, Ashreya Patial, Archita Raghu

Days before the United Nation’s top court is set to rule for a genocide case against Myanmar, a report  by  Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) released on Monday found Myanmar guilty of war crimes but not genocide. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will pass its order on Thursday.

The ICOE established by the government in 2018 stated, “There is insufficient evidence to argue, much less conclude, that the crimes committed were undertaken with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical (sic), racial or religious group.”

Rohingya refugees refuse to return to Myanmar | Aljazeera

Though the Myanmar president Win Myint backed the report, certain doubts were raised about the ICOE and its findings. 

Deputy director of Asia’s division of the Human Rights Watch Phil Robertson in a press release said, “Myanmar’s failure to hold its military accountable for atrocities against the Rohingya is finally turning the wheels of international justice.” Robertson told AFP that the inquiry and its methodology is anything but transparent and called for an immediate release of the report. 

China in a diplomatic effort is pushing for the return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar from Bangladesh.  The decision came after Xi Jinping’s two-day visit to Myanmar.  

Since 1982, the Rohingyas have been denied citizenship and the Buddhist-majority Myanmar considered them to be “Bengalis” denying them basic rights. In 2017, the Myanmar military began a clearance campaign that led to the mass exodus of Rohingyas to Bangladesh.

Apart from Bangladesh, India also houses a fair share of Rohingya refugees. In light of the Citizenship Amendment Act passed on December 12, 2019, Jitendra Singh, Minister of North Eastern region, announced the need to deport the Rohingya refugees who settled in India.

The humanitarian crisis has been monitored by the West because of Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi’s defense of the state’s campaigns against the Rohingyas.