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Iran Press TV

UN panel to prepare indictments over atrocities against Rohingya Muslims

Iran Press TV

Thu Sep 27, 2018 06:56PM

The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) has voted in favor of establishing a body to prepare criminal indictments over atrocities and possible genocide committed against the Rohingya Muslim community in Myanmar.

The 47-member council in Geneva on Thursday voted by 35 to three in favor of a resolution brought by the EU and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

China, the Philippines and Burundi voted against the move and the remainder either abstained or refrained from casting a vote.

The resolution calls for the establishment of an "independent mechanism to collect, consolidate, preserve and analyze evidence of the most serious international crimes and violations of international law committed in Myanmar since 2011."

The text says the panel will be responsible for preparing "files in order to facilitate and expedite fair and independent criminal proceedings... in national, regional or international courts or tribunals."

The text was presented after a damning report was released by a UN fact-finding mission to the council earlier this month.

The 444-page report concluded that there was enough evidence to merit investigation and prosecution of Myanmar's army chief and five other top military commanders for crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya Muslims.

UN investigators said troops committed murder, rape, arson and torture, using unfathomable levels of violence and with a total disregard for human life.

The Thursday resolution also said the mandate of the UN fact-finding mission should be extended until the new mechanism is operational.

Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague independently ruled that it had jurisdiction to open a preliminary investigation, even though the country has not signed the treaty underpinning the court.

The new body will work closely with any future prosecution brought by the ICC. In June, Amnesty International said Myanmar's top military officials must be tried at the ICC for crimes against humanity.

More than 700,000 members of the minority Muslim group have fled the state-sponsored violence to southeast Bangladesh over the past months.

The UN has described the campaign as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing, saying it possibly amounts to genocide as well.

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