In this Oct. 29, 2017, photo, participants with national and military flags attend a ceremony supporting the country's military and government servants in Yangon, Myanmar. Myanmar’s military, once despised for its stranglehold on the country, has seen its popularity surge alongside a rise in nationalism that has accompanied a crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. (AP Photo/Thein Zaw)

In one sense, this month’s admission by Myanmar’s military leadership that its soldiers had participated in the unlawful killing of Rohingya Muslims is unprecedented. This is the first time that the Tatmadaw, as Myanmar’s armed forces is known, has copped to any systematic wrongdoing in northern Rakhine State, until recently home to the bulk of the country’s long-suffering stateless Rohingya minority.

It’s a stunning reversal from the army’s own internal investigation, published last November, that exonerated soldiers in Rakhine from any wrongdoing whatsoever, in the face of damning testimony from refugees, satellite imagery chronicling the deliberate razing of Rohingya villages, and a Medecins Sans Frontieres report concluding that at least 6700 civilians were killed in the first month of the conflict alone.