U.N. rights panel says Myanmar commander-in-chief should step down

Marzuki Darusman, chairperson of the Independent International Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar attends a news conference on the publication of a final written report at the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, August 27, 2018. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

GENEVA (Reuters) - A United Nations human rights panel said on Monday that Myanmar’s commander-in-chief Min Aung Hlaing should step down following the panel’s call for his prosecution on suspicion of “genocidal intent” and grave crimes against Muslim Rohingya.

“The only way forward is to call for his resignation and stepping down immediately,” Marzuki Darusman, chairman of the Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar, told a Geneva news conference.

He said that the panel, which named Min Aung Hlaing and five other generals in a report, said that its separate confidential list of suspected perpetrators included military officials, auxiliary forces, civilians and insurgents.

The Myanmar government, which was sent an advance copy of the U.N. report in line with standard practice, has not commented. Contacted by phone ahead of the news conference, Myanmar military spokesman Major General Tun Tun Nyi said he could not immediately comment on the U.N. report. Reuters was unable to contact Min Aung Hlaing on Monday.

Reporting by Stephanie Nebehay; editing by John Stonestreet