FACTS

    Human rights organization Fortify Rights reported Tuesday that two Myanmar soldiers have confessed to the widespread murder and rape of Rohingya Muslims in the state of Rakhine. The two men, Private Myo Win Tun and Private Zaw Naing Tun, admitted in video recordings to their involvement in 2017 military “clearance operations.” They said they were ordered to “kill all, irrespective of children and adults.” They also confessed to raping women and burying the dead in mass graves. The men, said to be “army deserters,” turned themselves into Bangladesh authorities, who confirmed their stories to be consistent with the video statements and other testimonies.

    RESPONSE

    The men are now said to be in The Hague, Netherlands, “where they could appear as witnesses or face trial.” Their confessions mark the first of their kind.

    “Until now, it was reasonable to assume that the genocide was ordered by senior military commanders. Now we have confirmation from the participants that this was the case.”

    Paul Reichler, Co-Chair and Partner at Foley Hoag LLP

    Reichler is part of an International Court of Justice case against Myanmar. The Court “seeks to determine state responsibility for the crime of genocide rather than the prosecution of individual perpetrators.” Additionally, the International Criminal Court, which instead tries individuals involved in crimes, “has also opened an investigation into allegations of crimes against the Rohingya.”

    “This is a monumental moment for Rohingya and the people of Myanmar in their ongoing struggle for justice. These men could be the first perpetrators from Myanmar tried at the ICC, and the first insider witnesses in the custody of the court.”

    Matthew Smith, CEO and Co-founder of Fortify Rights

    The Myanmar government and military have consistently denied accusations of a “genocidal campaign

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