Myanmar army chief said the United Nations had no right to interfere in the sovereignty of the country, a week after UN investigators called on him and other top generals to be prosecuted for “genocide” against the Rohingya minority.
The defiant response is the army chief’s first public reaction since a UN fact-finding mission urged the Security Council to refer Myanmar’s top military brass to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
No country, organisation or group has the “right to interfere in and make decisions over sovereignty of a country”, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing told troops in a speech on Sunday, according to the military-run newspaper Myawady.
No country, organisation or group has the “right to interfere in and make decision over sovereignty of a country”, military-run newspaper Myawady reported Min telling troops in a speech Sunday.
“Talks to meddle in internal affairs (cause) misunderstanding.”
The 444-page UN probe report, compiled over 18 months, outlined in meticulous and searing detail claims of atrocities against the Rohingya, who fled a violent military campaign that started in August last year.
Troops, sometimes aided by ethnic Rakhine mobs, committed murder, rape, arson and torture, using unfathomable levels of violence and with a total disregard for human life, investigators concluded.
More than 700,000 of the stateless Muslim minority took refuge in Bangladesh, where they remain, fearful of returning to Myanmar despite a repatriation deal between the two countries.
The military has denied nearly all wrongdoing, justifying its crackdown as a legitimate means of rooting out Rohingya militants.
But rights groups and the UN say the operations were vastly disproportionate and that a troop build-up in the area occurred before insurgents attacked police posts in August 2017.
The UN team also criticised the Nobel Laureate’s government for “acts and omissions” that had “contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes”.