The International Criminal Court has opened a preliminary examination into Myanmar’s alleged crimes against its Rohingya Muslim minority.
The move could pave the way to a full investigation into Myanmar’s military crackdown that has seen thousands killed and over 700,000 displaced.
The army has previously cleared itself of wrongdoing in the Rohingya crisis.
However, that military report was criticised by human rights groups as an attempted “whitewash”.
The military launched a crackdown in Myanmar’s Rakhine state last year after Rohingya militants carried out deadly attacks on police posts. Hundreds of thousands have since fled to neighbouring Bangladesh.
There have been widespread allegations of human rights abuses, including arbitrary killing, rape and burning of land over many years.
On Tuesday, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said she had decided “to carry out a full-fledged preliminary examination of the situation at hand”.
Ms Bensouda said the initial probe, which could lead to a formal investigation by the ICC, could focus on a number of alleged “coercive acts” that possibly led to the “forced displacement” of Rohingya Muslims.
She said that these might include “deprivation of fundamental rights, killing, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, destruction and looting”.
She added that the Hague-based court would also consider…