National, Front Page

The generals involved in Rohingya genocide

Published : 12 Oct 2019 09:12 PM | Updated : 29 Aug 2020 11:56 PM

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights has termed Myanmar Army’s 20-17 crackdown on minority Rohingya Muslim community as a ‘textbook example of ethnic cleansing’. Marking the first anniversary of Myanmar’s military crackdown on minority Rohingya Muslim community, a UN probe called for investigation against six particular generals of Myanmar's military on August 27, 2018, after primarily finding them involved in the 2017 bloody massacre of the stateless community. In the probe report, the United Nations mentioned the names of the six top Myanmar Army personnel, including the commander-in-chief, who carried out the genocide against the Rohingyas.

Here is what we know about those the UN team has singled out as most responsible for the crimes.

Min Aung Hlaing: Senior General Min Aung Hlaing is the most powerful man in Myanmar. As well as controlling all branches of Myanmar's military, he wields significant political might with three ministries -- defence, interior and border affairs -- reporting to him. Military men also fill a quarter of parliamentary seats, giving the armed forces chief an effective veto over any constitutional changes. During the crackdown against the Rohingya, UN investigators say he was "well-informed of real-time developments" with "a full picture of what was transpiring, both on his orders and on his watch".

Soe Win: A shadowy figure, Vice Commander-in-Chief Soe Win joined the military in 1980 and is known for his hard-line stance and reluctance to speak publicly. As the military number two, Soe Win was ‘heavily involved’ with managing combat deployments in Rakhine, according to Amnesty International.

Aung Kyaw Zaw: Lieutenant General Aung Kyaw Zaw is the highest-ranking Myanmar military officer to be targeted by both US and EU sanctions. He commanded the Bureau of Special Operations from 2015 to January 2018, making him fourth in the chain of command in the Rakhine operations last year, according to NGO Fortify Rights. The group also says he was "embedded...on the ground", increasing the likelihood that troops were acting under his direct orders. He was fired from the army in May this year for "weakness in serving duty", according to an army Facebook post, a move seen by many as an attempt to use him as a scapegoat.

Maung Maung Soe: The same fate awaited Major General Maung Maung Soe, formerly the chief of the military's Western Command, which includes Rakhine. He was reassigned in November to "inspect his responsibility over his weakness while working for Rakhine state stability", the military said, later declaring that he had been "purged" for poor performance. The US hit him with sanctions in December.

Aung Aung: The notorious 33rd Light Infantry Division (LID) is known to have played a leading role in committing atrocities against the Rohingya. Brigadier General Aung Aung is the commander and would have given orders for troops to target specific villages, Amnesty says. The US has sanctioned the 33rd LID.

Than Oo: The soldiers of the 99th Light Infantry Division, under the command of Brigadier General Than Oo, are implicated in the Tula Toli massacre in Rakhine's Maungdaw township. His soldiers rounded up hundreds of Rohingya to a nearby river bank and opened fire on them, according to the US Treasury. Women and girls were raped.