ICOE report comes days before UN’s top court issues ruling on whether urgent measures are necessary to stop genocide.
A commission set up to investigate the 2017 crackdown in Rakhine that led hundreds of thousands of mostly Muslim Rohingya to flee Myanmar, has concluded that while some soldiers probably committed war crimes there was no genocide.
The Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE) released the findings of its investigation, but not the full report, to the country’s president on Monday, a few days before the United Nations’ top court is set to rule on whether to impose urgent measures to stop the alleged continuing genocide in Myanmar.
The ICOE conceded some security personnel had used disproportionate force and committed war crimes and serious human rights violations, including the “killing of innocent villagers and destruction of their homes”.
But the crimes did not constitute genocide, the panel decided.
“There is insufficient evidence to argue, much less conclude, that the crimes committed were undertaken with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical (sic), racial or religious group.”
Military operations from August 2017 forced about 740,000 Rohingya to flee over the border into refugee camps in Bangladesh.
Myanmar has always maintained the crackdown by the armed forces, or Tatmadaw, was necessary to root out Rohingya rebels after a series of attacks left a dozen security personnel dead.
But refugees carried consistent accounts of widespread murder, rape, torture and arson with them and have so far largely refused to return for fear of their safety.
“All signs point to what human rights experts and Rohingya themselves already know, which is that the government has no intention of bringing perpetrators of mass rape and other genocidal crimes to justice,” Akila Radhakrishnan, president of the Global Justice Center said in a statement.