Dhaka submits observations to ICC

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 02:27, Jun 12,2018 | Updated: 08:34, Jun 12,2018


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 on Monday submitted its observations to the International Criminal Court to assist the court to determine if it had jurisdiction over the atrocities against ethnic minority Rohingyas in Rakhaine state of Myanmar.
Bangladesh ambassador to the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal submitted the observations in the form of a statement to the court based in the Hague, diplomatic sources said.
Bangladesh, in the statement, tacitly stressed the need for ensuring accountability of people allegedly involved in crimes against humanity in Rakhine State since August 25, 2017, what the UN secretary general described as textbook example of ethnic cleansing and genocide, they said.
The ICC sought observations and evidences from the Bangladesh authorities as ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda sought a ruling from the court on ‘whether the court may exercise’ ‘territorial jurisdiction’ to open a probe into the alleged acts of expulsion of Rohingyas who were ‘intentionally deported across the international border into Bangladesh’ from Myanmar.
The ICC is scheduled to hold a closed-door hearing on the matter on June 20, diplomats said, as Bensouda, a Gambian national, was pursuing an expedited decision from the court on its jurisdiction as well as permission to launch a preliminary examination into the matter collecting information and evidences.
The prosecutor, if necessary, might issue warrant through the court asking the alleged perpetrators involved in the crimes mentioned in the case documents, officials said.
Myanmar de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi’s office claimed in a statement in April that the ICC had no jurisdiction over ‘states which have not accepted that jurisdiction.’
About 7,00,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ conducted by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning from August 25, 2017.
The ongoing Rohingya influx took the number of undocumented Myanmar nationals and registered refugees in Bangladesh to about 11,16,000, according to estimates by UN agencies and Bangladesh foreign ministry.
The two governments signed three instruments since November 23, 2017, for return of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals sheltered in Bangladesh after October 2016, as the Rohingya exodus from Rakhine State continued.

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