In a first-of-its-kind confession, two Burmese soldiers admitted their involvement in the Myanmar military’s mass killing, burials, and rape of members of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine state.
In the unpublished video, seen by the advocacy group Fortify Rights, 33-year-old Myo Win Tun and 30-year-old Zaw Naing Tun gave the names and ranks of 19 perpetrators who directly contributed to the atrocities. The Arakan Army, an ethnic guerrilla group in Rakhine, filmed the soldiers in July. Fortify Rights said the two men arrived at the border with Bangladesh in mid-August and sought protection. Bangladesh notified the International Criminal Court about the case, but the ICC has refused to comment on developments.
In the video, Myo Win Tun recounted how he raped one woman and buried 15 men, eight women, and seven children in one mass grave.
“We indiscriminately shot at everybody,” he said. “We shot the Muslim men in the foreheads and kicked the bodies into the hole.”
Zaw Naing Tun, who was in a separate battalion, said his commanding officer ordered him to “exterminate” the Rohingya people. He said he served as a lookout while senior soldiers raped the women.
The testimonies contradict the military’s repeated denial of genocide in Myanmar, also known as Burma. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since the military cleared out their villages in August 2017. Senior military officials denied accusations of mass killings and assaults, claiming they were carrying out an operation against insurgents.
Myanmar also faces charges of genocide at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. —O.O.