In a first, two Myanmar soldiers have confessed partaking and witnessing the nightmarish torture their regimen inflicted upon tens of Rohingya Muslims at the order of their commanding officers in 2017.
This is the first-ever confession of the unimaginable subjugation and slaughter of human rights by Myanmar soldier, a claim which the country has earlier denied.
Over 30 Rohingya Muslims were brutally murdered and buried in mass graves at a military base in August 2017 at order. Myanmar soldiers raped the Muslim women, while others guarded outside, the two former armies confessed.
The two men in question, were formerly part of the military which committed the now apparent crime against the Rohingyas, fled Myanmar last month, and reached the Netherlandish city of The Hauge.
“Shoot all you see and all you hear,” a Myanmar commander ordered in August 2017, and it went on to become what the United Nations regarded as the ‘Ethnic Cleansing.’
An estimated 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar following the unrest, mostly to neighboring Bangladesh.
Shortly after the exodus, an investigation team appointed by the UN claimed the Mayanmar military must be principally probed for committing crimes including murder, rape, torture, sexual slavery, persecution, and enslavement.
“The fact-finding Mission has concluded, on reasonable grounds, that the patterns of gross human rights violations and serious violations of international humanitarian law that it is found amount to the gravest crime under international law,” one of the investigators told reporters in 2018.
The two members of the Tatmadaw – as the Myanmar military is called – also confessed in the video statement obtained by the New York Times, that a similar ordeal was also carried out in another area with an identical directive from the superior – “Kill all you see, whether children or adults.”
The unit obediently carried the command, raping the women first, before slaughtering them, along with the children and the elderly, the two soldiers said.
“We also raped Muslim women prior to shooting them,” Pvt. Myo Win Tun said in the video confession. “There were the Corporals, Sergeants, and Officers who raped Muslim women. I also raped one time.”
The Times noted this private testimony is remarkable because it is not coming from the victims but perpetrators. Previously numerous witnesses, human-rights advocates, victims have spoken about similar traumas.
The two Myanmar soldiers echo the accounts of many Rohingya Muslims and this could have a dramatic impact on the case that is ongoing in the International Criminal Court.
The court is currently examining possible allegations on the Mayanmar military committing crimes against the Rohingya community during the so-called ethnic cleansing.
Matthew Smith, chief executive officer at Fortify Rights, a human rights watchdog said this testimony 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 I.C.C., and the first insider witnesses in the custody of the court,” Smith told the New York Times.
It must be noted, The NYT did not confirm if the two soldiers committed the crimes first-hand which they narrated.
But at least their exceptionally clear narrative matched with the accounts previously given by witnesses, Rohingya refugees, and observers, including Rakhine residents, Tatmadaw soldiers, and local politicians.
The Mayanmar expulsion of Rohingya is one of the most extreme and violent fights against refugee in the world. Within weeks, hundreds of stateless Rohingyas were uprooted from their homes in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.