On June 30, 2020, Myanmar military announced that two officers and a soldier had been convicted for “weakness in following the instructions” during the “Gu Dar Pyin incident.” Rakhine State’s Gu Dar Pyin village was the site of a massacre by the military on August 27-28, 2017, part of its campaign of mass atrocities that forced more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee to Bangladesh. The military did not provide any other information, such as the names and ranks of those convicted, their role in the massacre, or their sentences.
Maung Zarni, co-founder of FORSEA, stressed that Myanmar’s military had never held its personnel accountable for any excesses. He said:
The military has no tradition of prosecuting its rank and file for killing, torturing, maiming, slaughtering, and destroying colonized local communities in so-called operation zones.
Burmese officers are more likely to be punished for extramarital affairs than for slaughtering or raping scores of Rohingyas, Shans, or Kachins.
Zarni said that the military trial of army officers was just to give an illusion of a “functional justice system” for the ICJ. He added that the court-martial was carried out to create a bullet point in Myanmar’s report to the ICJ that there is a functional domestic justice system in the country.
They want the ICJ to give Myanmar’s civilian and military judicial processes a chance, as demanded by Aung San Suu Kyi in her genocide denial speech last year.
The military has not released details about the trial or the actions being taken.