The Public International Law and Policy Group, contracted by the U.S. State Department to study the treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar, has issued a report saying there are reasonable grounds to accuse the Myanmar military of crimes against humanity and genocide.
The report found evidence of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in Myanmar’s treatment of the Rohingya ethnic minority: murders, willful killings, enslavement, rapes, torture, looting and destruction of civilian property.
More than 700,000 Rohingya fled their homes for refugee camps in Bangladesh after Myanmar security forces last year started what they called "clearance operations" in response to militant attacks. The UN has previously said operations involved systematic murder, torture and rape, as well as the enslavement of civilian members of the minority.
The Public International Law and Policy Group called for an "accountability mechanism" to be set up urgently, or for the situation to be referred to the International Criminal Court.
Several U.S. human rights groups have called on the U.S. and other governments to hold the Burmese military accountable.
The statements support U.N. investigators, who in August issued a report finding the military had carried out various atrocities against the Rohingya with "genocidal intent."
The U.S. State Department has previously referred to the military's actions as "ethnic cleansing," but has stopped short of using the term genocide.