Military says it is probing ‘wider patterns’ of abuse against Rohingya 

The Tatmadaw has said it is investigating “possible wider patterns of violations” against Rohingya civilians in Rakhine state during military attacks on villages in 2016 and 2017.

In a statement published in state media on Tuesday, the military’s True News Information Team also announced there would be a court-martial to try soldiers who committed abuses in Chut Pyin and Maung Nu villages in Maungdaw. 

Scores of Rohingya men, women and children were massacred in each village in August 2017, Human Rights Watch and others reported.

“This investigation has advanced to such an extent that we can now announce that there will be a court-martial in this case, commencing before the end of 2020,” it said. 

The military’s Judge Advocate General has been analysing the report from the government’s Independent Commission of Inquiry into the attacks, the statement added. 

That analysis “has reached the point where the Office is investigating possible wider patterns of violations in the region of northern Rakhine in 2016-2017,” it said. “Allegations regarding villages in the Maungdaw area are included in the scope of this wider investigation.”

Rights groups are likely to argue Tuesday’s statement is another attempt to deflect international pressure for real accountability for the attacks, which UN investigators have labelled genocide. 

In July Human Rights Watch labelled a separate court-martial to punish soldiers for abuses against the Rohingya as an “accountability sham”.

The military and the government have until now insisted that any abuses that occurred during its “clearance operations” were isolated incidents carried out by rogue soldiers.

A lawsuit filed by the Gambia against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice in The Hague has argued that the military committed mass murder, rape and arson with attacks co-ordinated at the highest level. 

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