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Persecutors of Rohingya should face trial: Professor Stanton

Generals who have run genocidal campaign must become international pariahs, says Gregory Stanton


Perpetrators of the Rohingya genocide should stand trial at an international court for their crimes against humanity, the founding president of non-governmental organization Genocide Watch said Friday.

"We created international tribunals to try the perpetrators of the Cambodian genocide, the Rwandan genocide and of other genocides, the ones in Bosnia, in East Timor and elsewhere. Now we have the International Criminal Court," said Gregory Stanton, a research professor in genocide studies and prevention at George Mason University.

Stanton made the remarks during a two-day conference organized by the Free Rohingya Coalition (FRC) in New York aimed at gathering scholars and activists from around the world to explore ways to hold Myanmar accountable for crimes against humanity.

The FRC is working to build a grassroots movement to hold Myanmar to account for a campaign of genocide against the Rohingya.

"So the first thing that we must say here is that the generals who have run this genocidal campaign against the Rohingya, against the Kachin, the Shan and other groups in Myanmar must, first of all, become international pariahs. They must not be allowed to travel. They must have all of their assets seized," Stanton said.

He said most of Western Europe, the U.S., Canada and other countries including Argentina and Senegal make genocide a crime of universal jurisdiction, noting that those who have committed such crimes could be arrested and put on trial in those countries for genocide even though it was committed in Myanmar.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world's most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees -- mostly women, and children -- fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

© Anadolu Agency 2019

The UN has also documented mass gang rapes, killings -- including of infants and young children -- brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces.

In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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