ICC team in city over Rohingya abuses

Staff Correspondent

16th July, 2019 10:00:33 printer

A delegation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrived in Dhaka on Tuesday on a weeklong visit to hold talks with government leaders on the burning Rohingya issue, particularly the abuse on the minority Muslim community meted out by Myanmar authorities.

The team, led by ICC Deputy Prosecutor James Kirkpatrick Stewart, landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the morning.

The ICC delegation members are scheduled to hold a meeting with Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque at state guesthouse Padma this morning.

They will also meet Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at his Secretariat office and Law Minister Anisul Huq this evening.

The ICC team will have an internal meeting tomorrow and leave for Cox’s Bazar on Friday afternoon.

They will visit Rohingya camps and hold a meeting with the government authorities.

On Sunday, the ICC delegates will hold meetings with the Cox’s Bazar DC, the Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner and regional heads of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), BGB and the acting superintendent of police in Cox’s Bazar.

The delegation is scheduled to leave Dhaka on Monday.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda considers that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation into the alleged deportation of Rohingyas from Myanmar and related crimes committed in the context of the 2016 and 2017 waves of violence in Rakhine.

The ICC prosecutor has already requested its judges to authorise an investigation into alleged crimes like deportation, other inhumane acts and persecution against Rohingyas.

As Myanmar is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, but Bangladesh is, it is important to keep in mind that the authorisation to investigate, if granted by judges, would not extend to all crimes potentially committed in Myanmar, but will focus on crimes allegedly committed in part on the territory of Bangladesh, according to the ICC.

The request seeks authorisation from the court’s judges to open an investigation into alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of the court in which at least one element occurred in the territory of Bangladesh and within the context of two recent waves of violence in Rakhine of Myanmar as well as any other crimes which are sufficiently linked to these events.

The requested authorisation to investigate the situation covers the period since October 9, 2016.

The prosecutor’s request follows her office’s thorough preliminary examination which, in its assessment, concluded that the legal conditions required under the Rome Statute to open an investigation have been met.

On April 9 last year, the prosecutor filed a request with the court’s judges for a legal ruling on the question of jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

On June 26 this year, the ICC has constituted a pretrial chamber and assigned it to the situation in Bangladesh and Myanmar in regard to the alleged crimes against the Rohingyas.

The ICC Presidency has constituted Pre-Trial Chamber III, composed of Judge Robert Fremr, Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Judge Geoffrey Henderson, an ICC statement says.