UN experts renew call for referring Myanmar to ICC over atrocities against Rohingya

United Nations independent experts affirmed that continued denial of the facts and evidence of gross human rights violations by Myanmar is a clear indication of the country's lack of interest in establishing a fully functioning democracy based on individual rights and freedoms.

Myanmar stands at a crossroads, Chair of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar Marzuki Darusman told reporters here on Wednesday. He added that the Southeast Asian country can choose to acknowledge the serious human rights violations and honor the call for accountability, or it can continue on its present path of self-destruction.

In September, the UN Fact-Finding Mission issued a hard-hitting report concluding that the widespread and systematic violence against the Rohingya Muslim minority by Myanmar's armed forces and other security forces amounted to the gravest crimes under international law.

Darusman described the hardened position adopted by Myanmar's government as well as its continued denials and attempts to shield itself, under the pretext of national sovereignty, as the greatest obstacles to ensuring accountability, rule of law and respect for human rights in the country.

In its report, the Fact-Finding Mission also called on the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the International Criminal Court (ICC), or to an ad hoc tribunal for investigations and prosecutions for the crimes.

Later on Wednesday, Darusman reiterated the call inside the Security Council: Unless impunity is addressed, violence and its associated atrocity crimes will continue to occur," he said.

He also called on the Council to impose targeted, individual sanctions against those most responsible for serious crimes under international law, noting that the report identified six of army's most senior Generals, with command responsibility for the clearance operations in Rakhine state, starting with its Commander-in-Chief.

Speaking alongside Darusman at the press conference, Yanghee Lee, UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, called on the Security Council to come together and refer the country to the ICC without any delay. She also said that harassment of lawyers, journalists and human rights defenders continues, and voiced concern over prevailing impunity in the country.

Ms. Lee said Myanmar's civilian government "can do a lot to address the situation, adding: but they are either tacitly or explicitly choosing not to do anything.

Source: International Islamic News Agency