The outgoing UN Human Rights Commissioner says Myanmar's de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi should have given up his violent campaign against the minority of Rohingya Muslims last year.
Zeid Ra'ad al Hussein told the BBC Nobel Peace Prize attempts by the laureate to apologize for this were "deeply regrettable."
His comments come after a UN report said Myanmar's military leaders should be prosecuted for genocide.
Myanmar refused and said it had no tolerance for human rights abuses.
The army, accused of systematic ethnic cleansing, has previously acquitted itself of misconduct.
The UN report, released Monday, accused Suu Kyi, a longtime leader of the democracy movement, of not being able to prevent violence.
"She was able to do something," Mr Hussein said in an interview with the BBC's Imogen Foulkes. "She could have stayed calm ̵
"There was no need for them to be the spokesman for the Burmese military," he said, suggesting, "She could have said, you know, I'm ready to be nominal leader of the country, but not among them Conditions. "
On Wednesday, the Nobel Committee said that Ms. Suu Kyi could not be stripped of the peace award she received in 1991.
Although it is known that the 73-year-old does not control the military, she was subjected to international pressure to condemn the alleged brutality of the army.
The military launched a raid on Myanmar's Rakhine state has committed deadly attacks by the Rohingya militia on police posts last year.
Thousands of people have died and more than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017.
The Rohingya are a Muslim minority in Ma the Jordanian-Buddhist Myanmar, where they are considered illegal immigrants from Bangladesh, although they have called the Rakhine state home for generations.
There have also been widespread allegations of human rights violations against the persecuted group, including arbitrary killings, rapes and land fires over many years.