Nov 6, 2021 - World

UN investigator: Myanmar military's attacks on civilians constitute "crimes against humanity"

Security forces stand guard as people dismantle their slum homes in the Thianlyin township of Yangon on October 28.

Security forces stand guard after military authorities announced residents had to vacate the area in the Thianlyin township of Yangon in Myanmar on Oct. 28. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

Preliminary evidence collected since Myanmar's military junta seized power shows a systematic attack on civilians “amounting to crimes against humanity," a UN investigator said on Saturday.

Driving the news: The Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar has received over 200,000 communications since the army takeover in February and has collected over 1.5 million pieces of evidence that are being analyzed.

  • Since the military seized power, hundreds have been killed and thousands arrested as part of a crackdown on anti-coup demonstrators.

The big picture: Nicholas Koumjian, head of the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar, said the evidence will be analyzed so that "one day those most responsible for the serious international crimes in Myanmar will be brought to account,” according to the Associated Press.

  • Koumjian said investigators saw patterns of violence and "much more violent methods used to suppress the demonstrators" when determining attacks on civilians to be widespread and systemic.

What he's saying: “This was happening in different places at the same time, indicating to us it would be logical to conclude this was from a central policy,” Koumjian said, per AP.

  • “And, also, we saw that particular groups were targeted, especially for arrests and detentions that appear to be without due process of law," he added. "And this includes, of course, journalists, medical workers and political opponents.”

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