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UN probe finds dramatic increase in Myanmar war crimes

An aerial view of Bin village of the Mingin Township after villagers say it was set ablaze by the military, Sagaing region, Myanmar, Feb. 3, 2022. (Reuters Photo)

The United Nations has voiced concerns over a dramatic increase in war crimes committed by Myanmar’s military, including the bombing of civilians.

In a report published Tuesday, U.N. investigators said war crimes and rights violations in the country have become “increasingly frequent and brazen” under the junta.

The report by the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM), which covered the period between July 2022 and June 2023, said there was “strong evidence that the Myanmar military and its affiliate militias have committed three types of combat-related war crimes with increasing frequency and brazenness.”

These crimes include the indiscriminate or disproportionate targeting of civilians using bombs and the burning of civilian homes and buildings, resulting at times in the destruction of entire villages, it said.

The report also cited “killings of civilians or combatants detained during operations.”

“Our evidence points to a dramatic increase in war crimes and crimes against humanity in the country, with widespread and systematic attacks against civilians, and we are building case files that can be used by courts to hold individual perpetrators responsible,” said Nicholas Koumjian, head of the IIMM.

Since a junta seized power two years ago, Myanmar has been plunged into chaos, with a resistance movement fighting the military on multiple fronts after a bloody crackdown on opponents that saw Western countries reimpose sanctions.

A spokesperson for the junta could not be reached for comment on the findings made by U.N. investigators.Although it has justified bombings as attacks against military targets, U.N. investigators said the Myanmar military “should have known or did know” that a large number of civilians were in or around the alleged targets when the attacks took place.

The junta has previously denied atrocities have taken place, saying it is carrying out a legitimate campaign against terrorists.

By Reuters



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