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Rights group calls for arrests of Myanmar officials
© WikiMedia (Zlatica Hoke (VOA))
Rights group calls for arrests of Myanmar officials

Human rights advocacy group Fortify Rights [advocacy website] called [report, PDF] called Thursday for the arrest of top officials in Myanmar, alleging that authorities made “extensive and systematic preparations” for attacks against Rohingya civilians.

In its report, Fortify Rights stated it found “reasonable grounds for [International Criminal Court] arrest warrants.” The activist organization singled out 22 military and police officials connected with the violence against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority in the Rakhine region.

According to the report, prior to the infamous militant Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army’s (ARSA) attacks on police and military outposts on August 25, 2017, the government armed and trained neighboring non-Rohingya villages to take up arms against their Rohingya neighbors. In addition, government forces allegedly confiscated tools and weapons, dismantled protective structures such as walls and fences, and imposed more stringent control over Rohingya populations such as curfews. Following ARSA’s attack on August 25, the military allegedly perpetrated crimes against humanity, including mass killings, tortures, rape and displacements.

The report calls on the UN Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Under Article 58 of the Rome Statute [text], the ICC may issue a warrant for arrest if the prosecutor can find reasonable grounds for crimes being committed. Articles 5 and 6 of the statute gives the ICC jurisdiction over matters of genocide.