The Liberation War Museum’s Center for the Study of Genocide and Justice (CSGJ) has found that the Rohingya people have been the victims of genocide in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. In its recent empirical study conducted among the Rohingya people who fled the violence and took shelter in Cox’s Bazar after the 25th of August 2017, the CSGJ research team found credible evidences of genocide under international criminal law.
Titled as “The Rohingya Genocide: Compilation and Analysis of Survivors’ Testimonies", the study report was published at a press conference in the Liberation War Museum on the 22nd of September 2018, Saturday. Museum Trustee and CSGJ Director Mofidul Hoque, researchers Emraan Azad, Shaoli Dasgupta and Sharmin Sati spoke at the press conference and shared findings of the research.
Emraan Azad said that a team of twenty young researchers visited three times to the makeshift camps in Cox’s Bazar and collected a total of 161 testimonies from among the Rohingya people after maintaining internally accepted standard rules of documenting crimes, namely the Columbian Protocol on Interviewing the Cases of International Crimes. The testimonies were also verified and cross checked with the help of local contacts. After this, all the testimonies were analysed in light of the principles and framework of contemporary international criminal law. In the study, the UN Convention for the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide 1948 and the Rome Statute for the establishment of International Criminal Court (ICC) 1998 were used to anlayse both the elements and evidences of crime of genocide and other international crimes. According to these two laws, the crime of genocide takes places when the perpetrators kill or attack, or physically or mentally persecute, or deliberately exterminate – with an intention to destroy in whole or in part – any national, racial, religious or ethnic group. The study found that the Rohingya people have been the subject of genocidal atrocities because of their dual identity, i.e. Muslim (religious identity) and Rohingya (ethnic identity).
Emraan Azad also said that the Rohingya people are historically discriminated and systematically violated by the State mechanism. Excluding the Rohingya ethnic group from the list of citizenship with the force of Burma Citizenship Act 1982 is one of the glaring examples of such State-sponsored violence. Testimonies collected from Cox’s Bazar makeshift camps evidence that they have been killed indiscriminately. Women were raped and horrifically sexually abused. Even religious institutions have been used as torture cells.
Shaoli Dasgupta said that the evidence that was found in the study showed that Myanmar’s military force (Tatmadaw), government and extremist Buddhists (locally known as 'Maghs'), committed these crimes. Mofidul Hoque said that the study report could be considered as a reliable piece of research work which documents the crime of genocide against the Rohingya ethnicity. As the research work is based on the experiences of the survivors and eyewitnesses of genocide, it would assist the ICC investigating agency and future trial process to ensure international justice for the Rohingya victims of genocide.
THE EVENT WAS COVERED BY LAW DESK.