UNSC urged to refer Rohingya issue to ICC

Md Enamul Hassan

9 September, 2018 12:00 AM printer

Many international organisations and world leaders have urged the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to refer the situation in Rakhine State to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate the full spectrum of atrocity crimes in Myanmar.

They expressed full support to the ICC’s decision on its jurisdiction over trying Myanmar authorities for driving out the Rohingya of their homes, opening fire on them and burning down their villages.

The UNSC should refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC to investigate the full spectrum of atrocity crimes in Myanmar, said Fortify Rights (FR) on Friday.

The human rights body said in a historic decision, the ICC granted the prosecutor jurisdiction to investigate and possibly prosecute the crime against humanity of deportation of Rohingya to Bangladesh as well as persecution and other inhumane acts.

The court’s decision is monumental, but this is just a first step, said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer (CEO) at Fortify Rights.

“This decision should inspire more international action, not less. An ICC referral from the Security Council now would enable the court to investigate the full spectrum of atrocities against Rohingya, Kachin, Shan, and others,” he said.

Fortify Rights said the United States is currently the chair of the 15-member UN Security Council. However, nine member states would need to vote in favour of a resolution to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC.

Any of the five permanent members—the US, the UK, China, Russia, and France—could veto such action, it said.

Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said: “It’s an important decision by the ICC on jurisdiction and impunity must end now.”

Eva Kusuma Sundari, a member of the House of Representatives of Indonesia, said: “The ICC now has the opportunity to initiate a full investigation.”

Sundari said this means bringing those responsible for the alleged human rights violations to account and possibly putting an end to the longstanding discrimination and injustices this community has faced in Myanmar.

“We look forward to the recommendations of the preliminary examination concerning the crimes allegedly committed against the Rohingya people,” she stated.

The Indonesian lawmaker also hoped for a full investigation and trial of those accountable for all alleged crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC.

“This is a milestone decision and a step forward towards accountability for the alleged atrocity crimes against the Rohingya population,” said Charles Santiago, a member of the Malaysian parliament.

Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director of the AI said during the Myanmar military’s horrifying campaign of ethnic cleansing more than 725,000 Rohingya women, men and children were deported to Bangladesh.

“The Court has sent a clear signal to the Myanmar military that they will be held accountable,” he noted.

The South Asia director of the AI said forced deportation is just one of a raft of crimes committed against the Rohingya.

He concluded that the UNSC should still refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC, so that the Court can investigate all crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya, as well as the military’s crimes against other ethnic minorities in Kachin and northern Shan States.