Saturday, November 23rd, 2019

ICC fears ‘state policy’ to attack Rohingyas: Prosecutor

Published 11:01 pm | November 23, 2019

International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has said the ICC judges feared that Myanmar may have ‘state policy’ to attack its minority Rohingya population in Rakhine. “The Judges accepted that there is a reasonable basis to believe that — there may have been a state (Myanmar) policy to attack the Rohingya population,” she said in a statement on Friday.

The statement came following the approval of ICC to commence an investigation into crimes committed against Rohingyas. As per the Judges observation, the prosecutor said “there are many sources indicating the heavy

Fatou Bensouda

involvement of several Myanmar government forces and
other state agents, and that members of the Myanmar armed forces
(“Tatmadaw”), jointly with other Myanmar security forces and with some
participation of local civilians, may have committed these crimes against

“These coercive acts could qualify as the crimes against humanity of
deportation and persecution on grounds of ethnicity and/or religion against
the Rohingya population,” the prosecutor said referring to what ICC judges
accepted to give the authorization.

Saying that the Judges authorised the investigation with broad parameters,
Bensouda termed it as a significant development against atrocity in Myanmar.

On Nov 14, the ICC Judges of Pre-Trial Chamber III have authorised the
prosecutor office to commence an investigation into the “Situation in

Mentioning that Myanmar is not a State Party of the ICC, but Bangladesh is,
the prosecutor welcomed the Chamber’s conclusion that the alleged deportation
of civilians across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border, which involved victims
crossing that border, clearly establishes a territorial link on the basis of
the “actus reus of this crime”- that is, “the crossing into Bangladesh by the

“The Court may exercise jurisdiction over crimes when part of the criminal
conduct takes place on the territory of a State Party,” she said.

The prosecutor said her investigation will seek to uncover the truth and
focus its efforts on ensuring the pursuit and success of its independent and
impartial investigation.

She also noted that the Chamber saw no reason to disagree with “my
assessment that there are no substantial reasons to believe that an
investigation into the situation would not be in the interests of justice.”

In doing so, she said “we aim to bring justice to victims and affected
communities, and count on the full support and cooperation of States Parties,
civil society, and other partners.”

On July 4, the prosecutor sought authorisation to investigate the
situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar in the period since 9 October 2016.

The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial
preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of
genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple
situations within the ICC’s jurisdiction in Uganda, Congo, Sudan; Central
African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya, Libya, C”te d’Ivoire,
Mali, Georgia and Burundi.

The Office is also currently conducting preliminary examinations relating
to the situations in Colombia, Guinea, Iraq, Palestine, the Philippines,
Nigeria, Ukraine, and Venezuela.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” by other rights groups.

Ban Ki-moon for political solution to Rohingya crisis


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