A UN report has said top military figures in Myanmar must be investigated for genocide in Rakhine state and crimes against humanity in other areas.
It is also fiercely critical of Myanmar's de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, for failing to intervene to stop the violence. Under the constitution civilian authorities have little control over the military, but the document says that "through their acts and omissions, the civilian authorities have contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes". Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung Sang Suu Kyi "has not used her de facto position as Head of Government, nor her moral authority, to stem or prevent the unfolding events in Rakhine".
The report, based on hundreds of interviews, is the strongest condemnation from the UN so far of violence against the Rohingya. The army's tactics are "consistently and grossly disproportionate to actual security threats", it says. It names six senior military figures it believes should go on trial. The report calls for the case to be referred to the International Criminal Court of Justice.
The report says the crimes it has documented are "shocking for the level of denial, normalcy and impunity that is attached to them. Military necessity would never justify killing indiscriminately, gang-raping women, assaulting children, and burning entire villages."
The crimes documented in Kachin, Shan and Rakhine include murder, imprisonment, torture, rape, sexual slavery, persecution and enslavement that "undoubtedly amount to the gravest crimes under international law". In Rakhine state, the report also found elements of extermination and deportation "similar in nature, gravity and scope to those that have allowed genocide intent to be established in other contexts". According to Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), at least 6,700 Rohingya, including at least 730 children under the age of five, were killed in the first month after the violence broke out.