Rights groups have accused Myanmar's security forces of committing atrocities in various villages, including Gu Dar Pyin, where they say at least five shallow mass graves had been found.

Residents who fled from conflict between the Myanmar Arakan armies arrive at a temporary refugee camp in Sittwe, Rakhine State on June 29, 2020.
Residents who fled from conflict between the Myanmar Arakan armies arrive at a temporary refugee camp in Sittwe, Rakhine State on June 29, 2020. (AFP)

Three Myanmar military officers have been found guilty by a court-martial investigating atrocities against Rohingya Muslims in conflict-ridden Rakhine state.

The rare action against military members was announced by the army on Tuesday as Myanmar faces charges of genocide at the United Nations' top court over a brutal 2017 crackdown against the Rohingya.

Some 750,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh, with accounts of widespread murder, rape and arson. 

Estimates from survivors in Bangladesh put the death toll in the hundreds.

READ MORE: Six things to know about the conflict in Myanmar's Rakhine state

'Guilty verdict'

After initially denying the allegations, the military started court-martial proceedings in September, admitting there had been "weakness in following instructions" in the village.

The commander-in-chief's office announced on Tuesday the court-martial had "confirmed the guilty verdict" and sentenced three officers.

No details were provided on the perpetrators, their crimes or sentences.

Rights groups Amnesty International called the lack of transparency on the court-martial "alarming".

"Closed-door trials shrouded in secrecy, and marred by a lack of independence in the military judiciary system, are not the way to end military impunity in Myanmar," said Amnesty's Ming Yu Hah.

Extrajudicial killings

The government has largely supported the army's justification of the 2017 operations as a means of rooting out insurgents.

Civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi admitted at the International Court of Justice in December, however, that disproportionate force may have been used.

The military has maintained any atrocities were committed by a few maverick individuals.

UN investigators also found evidence of extrajudicial killings in other Rakhine villages, Maung Nu and Chut Pyin.

The army chief's office said Tuesday a court of inquiry would "continue to investigate" events at both villages.  

Fight for autonomy 

In 2018, the military sentenced members of the security forces to a decade in prison for the killing of 10 Rohingya in Inn Din village, but they were released after serving less than a year.

Two journalists who exposed the massacre were detained for more than 16 months before they were pardoned following a global outcry.

The state remains a flashpoint of ethnic and religious tensions, and the military has been locked in battle since January last year with insurgents fighting for more autonomy for ethnic Rakhine Buddhists.

Intensified fighting over the weekend drew alarm from the UN on Sunday, who called for both sides to respect international humanitarian law as thousands of more civilians fled their homes from artillery shelling.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies