A Myanmar government sponsored commission tasked with investigating human rights violations in Rakhine State concluded on Monday that soldiers likely committed war crimes against its Rohingya Muslim community but found no evidence of genocide.
The Independent Commission Of Enquiry (ICOE) carried out investigations in northern Rakhine State to determine whether war crimes, serious human rights violations, and violations of domestic law took place during security operations between August and September 2017.
After Rohingya Arsa militants launched deadly attacks on more than 30 police posts in August 2017, Myanmar’s Defense Services responded by killing at least 6,700 Rohingya, including at least 720 children under the age of five. More than 288 villages were partially or totally destroyed by fire, which led to a mass exodus of more than 700,000 Rohingya people crossing into Bangladesh.
The ICOE stated that it found no evidence suggesting that these killings or acts of displacement were committed pursuant to an intent or plan to destroy the Muslim community or that the crimes were undertaken with the “intent to destroy a national, ethnical, racial or religious group.”
Rohingya Muslims represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, with the majority living in Rakhine state. The government of Myanmar denied the Rohingya citizenship and even excluded them from the 2014 census, refusing to recognize them as a people.