Amnesty International calls for investigation into Myanmar military over 'war crimes'

Amnesty International said Thursday that Myanmar should be investigated for "war crimes” because of "indiscriminate attacks against civilians."

Publication: 22.12.2023 - 13:41
Amnesty International calls for investigation into Myanmar military over 'war crimes'
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"Myanmar’s military has unlawfully killed, arbitrarily detained and stolen from civilians as it struggles to contain the heaviest outburst of armed resistance since the 2021 coup," the rights group said in a statement.

Amnesty noted that the army killed people and displaced them in Rakhine State, while it "arbitrarily detained civilians and looted valuables."

Amnesty International added that it documented "military use of cluster munitions" in Shan State.

In 2017, Myanmar’s military launched violent operations against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State, which rights groups have since called a genocide. Nearly 1.2 million Rohingya were forced into neighboring Bangladesh, where they have been living for years in overcrowded refugee camps

"Drawing on interviews with 10 civilians from Pauktaw township in Rakhine State and analyses of photographs, video material and satellite imagery, Amnesty International has documented likely indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian objects as well as, in northern Shan State, the use of banned cluster munitions, all of which should be investigated as war crimes," it noted.

Matt Wells, director of the group's Crisis Response Program, said the suffering of civilians across Myanmar "shows no signs of easing," nearly three years after a coup.

"The Myanmar military has a blood-stained resume of indiscriminate attacks with devastating consequences for civilians, and its brutal response to a major offensive by armed groups fits a longstanding pattern," added Wells.

Since the coup in Myanmar in 2021 that ousted the democratically elected government of Aung San Suu Kyi, the military carried out a "brutal nationwide crackdown" on millions opposed to its rule.

Amnesty said it also documented an attack on Namkham township in northern Shan State. In early December the military conducted an airstrike on Namkham "using bombs that were most likely cluster munitions," which are internationally banned as they are inherently indiscriminate.

"Amnesty International’s weapons investigator analyzed five photographs of ordnance scrap recovered at the scene, and identified the remains of a cluster munitions dispenser," added the statement.

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