UN investigators called Tuesday for an expert evaluation of whether Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi can be legally implicated in alleged abuses committed against the country's Rohingya minority.
The fact-finding mission to Myanmar, set up by the UN Human Rights Council, said they were not equipped to determine what level of responsibility Suu Kyi should shoulder for the Rakhine crisis.
"It will become a legal issue whether or not there is an element of culpability here," fact-finding mission chair Marzuki Darusman told reporters in Geneva.
The Human Rights Council recently created a panel to prepare criminal indictments over alleged abuses committed in the country -- the so-called Independent International Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) -- which could have the expertise to determine what responsibility Suu Kyi bears in the crisis.
"It is still an open-ended question to what extent she might be implicated," Darusman said.
When asked if the Nobel laureate might be implicated, he said "that is for the judicial process to address," referring to the IIMM.
Darusman said that the investigators initially shied away from laying blame on Suu Kyi, who spent years in house arrest before her party in 2015 won Myanmar's first fully free vote for generations.
He said that the fact-finding team had taken into account that Myanmar was "going through a transition, a democratic transition, and therefore in our first report we absolved Mrs. Aung San Suu Kyi from any direct responsibility."
But while it was likely that Suu Kyi was not aware in August 2017 of the army's activities, "the issue now is that subsequently, there was no further addressing of this issue on her part," Darusman said.