BANGKOK – The de facto leader of Myanmar said on Saturday that admission by the country’s army that it has participated in crimes against the Rohingyas is a positive step.
Aung San Suu Kyi’s statement comes after the country’s army, for the first time on Wednesday, had admitted that it carried out extrajudicial killings of a group of Rohingyas, whose bodies had been discovered in a mass grave in the Rakhine State in western Myanmar.
The acknowledgment is an indication that the country is ready to own responsibility for any breaches in rule of law, said Suu Kyi, after meeting Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kano, the state media reported.
Soldiers and local residents from the majority Buddhist community had killed 10 members of the Rohingyas, a Muslim minority community, believing them to be members of the rebel group Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army, according to a statement released by the commission, charged with investigating the crime.
The commission said the soldiers and civilians implicated have confessed and will be put on trial.
The killings took place on Sept. 2, 2017 in the village of Inn Din, situated to the north of Sittwe, the capital of the state.
On Aug. 25, the Myanmar army had launched a military offensive after Rohingya rebels had mounted a series of attacks on multiple government posts.
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid bin Ra’ad Zeid al-Hussein had described the offensive – that led to the exodus of around 650,000 Rohingyas to neighboring Bangladesh – as ethnic cleansing.
Myanmar does not consider the Rohingyas to be citizens, treating them mostly as Bangladeshi immigrants and imposing many restrictions on them, including on their freedom of movement within the country.