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World must ‘cut off money supply’ to commanders accused of war crimes and genocide against Rohingya, say investigators. The international community must cut off all support to Myanmar’s military as part of efforts to hold army commanders to account for crimes against humanity and genocide, UN investigators have said following a fact-finding mission in the country.


In a statement, the UN said there had been no progress in protecting the Rohingya minority, more than a million of whom have fled military “clearance operations” in the Rakhine region.

“The situation is at a total standstill,” said Marzuki Darusman, chair of the UN independent international fact-finding mission.

Myanmar authorities in the Buddhist-majority country have razed empty Rohingya villages, destroying criminal evidence of abuses. About 120,000 people remain in displacement camps in fear of military reprisals. The authorities should focus on the “real betterment of the remaining Rohingya community in Myanmar,” Darusman said.

Myanmar security forces are accused of killing, gang-rape and arson during a campaign of violence that drove 730,000 Rohingya people from Rakhine in 2017. More than a million Rohingya have now been forced into exile.

Myanmar has persistently denied allegations of human rights abuses, saying its security forces have not targeted civilians, and rejected a report in September last year by the UN panel, which said top military officers who conducted the campaign against the Rohingya should be prosecuted for war crimes.

Christopher Sidoti, an expert member of the panel and human rights lawyer, said the mission had found “no evidence” of progress by the Myanmar government in resolving ethnic tensions that helped fuel the crisis or facilitating the safe return of refugees.

“Due to the gravity of the past and continuing violations, attention must be given to the political, economic and financial ties of the Myanmar military – to identify who and what should be targeted so we can cut off the money supply as a means of increasing the pressure and reducing the violence,” Sidoti said.

“The situation demands an increase in international pressure.”

The military had committed atrocities against many ethnic groups living in Myanmar, the mission found. Investigators also condemned ethnic armed groups for committing human rights abuses. The UN panel is barred from entering Myanmar, but met with government and regional officials, UN agencies and humanitarian representatives in the region, as well as refugees in Bangladeshs Coxs Bazar district earlier this month. Refugees told them they needed justice, education, work and the ability to return safely to their homes.

UN officials have described the actions of the Myanmar military as ethnic cleansing and genocide.

Darusman said the operations conducted by Myanmars military against the Rohingya in 2012 and 2017 were not isolated incidents, but were rather “fuelled by the absence of a political and legal system that is willing to accommodate diversity”.

In September, the fact-finding mission will hand over its evidence to a new group, the Independent Investigative Mechanism on Myanmar, set up by the human rights council to handle future criminal prosecutions of violations of international law.The international criminal court is conducting its own investigations into the violence, and discussions are also underway about the jurisdiction of the international court of justice under the genocide convention of 1948.

Many western countries have imposed arms embargoes and suspended training programmes over human rights abuses in Myanmar. The US treasury has imposed sanctions on Myanmars security forces and Washington has barred military officials involved in the Rakhine violence from US assistance. Britain has also cut off some financial support.

Maj Gen Tun Tun Nyi, a military spokesman, told Reuters the military would investigate allegations backed by evidence but said the fact-finding mission had levelled false accusations at troops.

“Our country is an independent country, so we dont accept our matters being interfered with,” he said.

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