The two deserter Myanmarese soldiers say they were ordered to kill, maim and rape the Rohingya Muslims.
A video footage of two Myanmarese soldiers has become the first confession to large scale war crimes committed by Myanmar's army and other security agencies against the Rohingya.
The video was released by Fortify Rights, a human rights group, and as per news reports, the two soldiers, Private Myo Win Tun and Private Zaw Naing Tun, are now in the Hague at the International Criminal Court where the Rohingya crisis is being investigated.
Here are some things to know about their confession
1- According to Fortify Rights, Win Tun and Naing Tun deserted Myanmar’s army in July, and in the same month, were filmed by the anti-Myanmar ethnic insurgent group called the Arakan Army.
"We destroyed the Muslim villages near Taung Bazar village. We implemented the clearance operations in the night-time as per the command to 'shoot all that you see and that you hear.' We buried a total number of 30 dead bodies in one grave," said Win Tun in his statement, made over video link.
2- The chief executive officer of Fortify Rights called the recorded confession a "monumental moment for Rohingya and the people of Myanmar in their ongoing struggle for justice".
3- Myanmar has been in a state of denial, refusing to admit the mass murders that took place under the government's watch. From day one of what the UN has called ‘the killing spree’ with the "hallmark of genocide", the Myanmarese government defended its forces by saying they have been conducting the "clearance operations" to "counter terrorism" in Rahinke state. The first round of killings came to the surface in late October following a Rohingya attack on a border post which saw nine police officers lose their lives.
4- According to Fortify Rights, the footage is credible. It was shot against a dark green plastic sheet and the two uniformed men, Win Tun and Naing Tun, speak coldly about how they gunned down dozens of villagers on the orders of their superiors.
Win Tun said that he participated in an overnight raid in a Muslim village in Buthidaung Township, August 2017. He said his officers ordered him to kill everyone and ensure that the Rohingya "race will be exterminated."
Win Tun said his unit of ten men stayed in the village for over two weeks and engaged in a series of macabre murders and rapes, as well as the razing of settlements. "We buried a total of 30 dead bodies in one grave ... eight women, seven children, fifteen men and elderly," Win Tun said in the video.
Admitting to the rape of one woman, he said his fellow soldiers raped several women before shooting them dead. "We shot and buried people in village after village. It would be around 60 to 70 people in total".
5- Over the last three years, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA), almost 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, .
After four decades of persecution, more than one million Rohingya refugees are living in refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.
In its previous reports, Doctors Without Borders revealed that hundreds of children under the age of 5 had been killed by the Myanmar army.
Reports have emerged that suggest more than 34,000 Rohingya were burnt alive, while over 115,000 homes were destroyed in fires. At least 113,000 others were vandalised.