Rohingya Issue: Dhaka responds to ICC request

BD's steps always guided by universal values, laws: Shahriar

United News of Bangladesh | Published: 10:35, Jun 08,2018


Rohingyas, fleeing persecution in Rakhine State of Myanmar, queue up to get biometrically registered at Kutupalang Refugee Camp at Ukhia in Cox's Bazar. -- New Age file photo

Bangladesh, being one of the States Parties to the Rome Statute, has responded to the request of the International Criminal Court on Rohingya issue as Bangladesh is seeking a ‘sustainable solution’ to the crisis.

‘Yes, we responded to the ICC request,’ state minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam told UNB.

Without elaborating when Bangladesh sent the reply, he said it is in fact mandatory to respond.

The state minister said Bangladesh has provided the information only as requested by the court. ‘We have provided all the information they asked for and everything that we know from our experience.’

‘We are still committed to settle the matter bilaterally,’ the state minister said mentioning that the five-point proposal made by prime minister Sheikh Hasina in New York is still on the table.

‘We are committed to those five-point proposal to find the solution,’ he said.

Responding to a question, Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh, under the leadership of prime minister Sheikh Hasina is a ‘responsive and responsible’ State.

‘Our actions are always guided by universal values and laws,’ he said.

Bangladesh ambassador in The Hague Sheikh Mohmmed Belal who came to Dhaka for consultations will formally hand over Bangladesh observations to the ICC, an official told UNB.

Without giving any direct reply to whether Bangladesh will respond to the call of the International Criminal Court on the Rohingya issue, foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali on Tuesday said they will work protecting country's interests.

‘We'll work protecting country's interests,’ he said adding that Bangladesh is working for a sustainable and voluntary return of Myanmar's displaced people.

The International Criminal Court wanted to know Bangladesh's opinion on whether The Hague-based court has jurisdiction to run a case on atrocities against Rohingyas.

The pre-trial chamber of the ICC has sent a letter in this regard on Monday and sought Bangladesh's opinion by June 11 either publicly or confidentially.

‘The Chamber hereby invites the competent authorities of Bangladesh to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on the prosecutor's request no later than 11 June,’ reads the letter.

The Chamber invited the competent authorities of Bangladesh to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on the three specific matters.

These are (i) the circumstances surrounding the presence of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar on the territory of Bangladesh; (ii) the possibility of the Court's exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh; and (iii) any other matter in connection with the prosecutor's request that, in the opinion of the competent authorities of Bangladesh, would assist the Chamber in its determination of this request.

The Chamber ordered the registrar to notify this decision to the competent authorities of Bangladesh together with a copy of the prosecutor's request.

On April 9, the prosecutor submitted her request in pursuant to regulation 46(3) of the regulations of the Court and article 19(3) of the Rome Statute.

On April 11, the president of the Pre-Trial Division assigned the prosecutor's request to the Chamber.

In the request, the prosecutor seeks a ruling from the Chamber on the question whether the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of more than 670,000 members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh.

Accordingly, the Chamber considers it appropriate to seek observations from the competent authorities of Bangladesh on the prosecutor's request.

Earlier, 41 eminent citizens of the country on Sunday urged the government to respond to the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber's request for observations and supporting the view of the Prosecutor that the Court may assert jurisdiction against Myanmar.

The citizens called on the government to respond to the invitation from ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I to Bangladesh authorities to submit by June 11, 2018 observations on the question and to support the Prosecutor's request.

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina who is now on her way to Canada at the invitation of Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau will discuss Rohingya issue with her Canadian counterpart on June 10.

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