But the UN High Commissioner for Refugees says conditions are not in place for their safe return and the process halts.
UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein on December 5 warns of possible “elements of genocide” and calls for an international investigation.
Courts and sanctions
On August 25, 2018, tens of thousands of Rohingya refugees stage protests to mark the first anniversary of their exodus.
UN investigators call for the prosecution of Myanmar’s army chief and five other top military commanders for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
In November, an attempt to repatriate 2,260 Rohingya fails as they refuse to leave without guarantees for their safety.
On September 3, 2018, two journalists of Reuters news agency, accused of breaching Myanmar’s state secrets law while reporting on a Rohingya massacre, are jailed for seven years.
They go on to spend more than 500 days behind bars before being released on a presidential pardon.
On July 16, 2019, Washington announces sanctions against Myanmar’s army chief and three other top officers.
About 3,500 Rohingya refugees are cleared to return home but no one turns up to make the journey on August 22.
Legal challenges mount
On November 11, 2019, The Gambia files a lawsuit at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Myanmar of genocide over its treatment of the Rohingya.
Three days later, The Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) approves a full investigation into the persecution of the Rohingya.
In the same week, a third case is filed by rights groups in Argentina under the principle of universal jurisdiction.
Aung San Suu Kyi in court
On December 11, The Gambia lays out its case at the ICJ with Aung San Suu Kyi personally leading Myanmar’s defence.
She refutes accusations of genocide, denying “misleading and incomplete” claims and insisting Myanmar is dealing with an “internal armed conflict”.
She admits the army may have used excessive force.
Delivering its ruling on January 23, 2020, the ICJ orders Myanmar to take urgent steps to prevent alleged genocide and to report back within four months.
Myanmar’s military seizes power on February 1, 2021, deposing the civilian government and later waging a bloody crackdown on dissent.
Aung San Suu Kyi is put under house arrest and later jailed for 17 years following a closed-door trial in a military court.
With several charges still hanging over her, the 77-year-old faces the possibility of lengthier sentences.
US calls genocide
The United States on March 21, 2022 officially declares the 2017 violence amounted to genocide, saying there was clear evidence of an attempt to “destroy” the Rohingya.
The ICJ rules on July 22 that the case filed by The Gambia can proceed.
In the same month, the military government executes four prisoners, the country’s first use of capital punishment in decades.
On August 10 this year, two Rohingya community leaders are shot dead in one of the refugee camps in Bangladesh, the latest in a string of killings in the settlements.
Rohingya sources tell the AFP news agency that ARSA was behind the killings.
The ARSA is accused of running narcotics, murdering political opponents and instilling a climate of fear in the camps.