The Tatmadaw (military) in Myanmar has set up a new panel to scrutinise and verify reports of incidents in northern Rakhine State, the military’s True News agency said.
The new body will look into reports of terror-related attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army in northern Rakhine, the panel said in a statement.
Lt-Gen Aye Win, who headed the military investigation of incidents in Rakhine in August 2017, found weaknesses in the control and management of security in the region. The panel also noted weaknesses in the gathering of security information in advance. Several military officials have been sanctioned because of the lapses.
However, due to assessments and suggestions by the Office of the Judge Advocate-General, further scrutiny and approval are needed of the reports by the previous military investigation team as well as the reports of alleged human rights abuses by Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International and a United Nations Fact-Finding Mission.
“The investigation panel was formed to further scrutinise and verify these incidents,” the statement said.
According to True News, Major General Myat Kyaw will lead the panel, and it will include Colonel Kyaw Kyaw Naing and Colonel Than Naing.
Phil Robertson, deputy director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia division, said creating this panel was just another bid to buy more time from the UN and the international community by pretending there is an ongoing investigation. “Nothing could be further from the truth, and no one is gullible enough to buy this lame excuse anymore.”
He added that the statement shows the military sees pressure intensifying to hold it accountable for the crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing it committed in Rakhine in 2017.
Over 150 people were killed when ARSA attacked more than 30 police outposts in northern Rakhine on August 25, 2017. The military responded with a brutal crackdown that prompted more than 700,000 Muslims to flee Rakhine to Bangladesh.