A team of the International Criminal Court is set to reach Dhaka today for conducting preliminary examinations aimed at establishing a case on atrocities committed on the Rohingyas by Myanmar military.
The six-member technical team would be in Bangladesh for a week and visit the Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar to see and hear the victims on the grounds, government officials in Cox’s Bazar said on Tuesday.
The Hague-based ICC has brought the Rohingya issue under its jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the victims ‘occurred on the territory of Myanmar’ to Bangladesh.
The ICC also set up a court for trial of the perpetrators as the UN and other rights groups has described atrocities committed to Rohingya people as textbook example of ethnic cleansing with hallmarks of genocide.
Bangladesh authorities are, however, keen to send the Rohingya victims to their villages in Rakhine of Myanmar in a sustainable manner at the earliest with support from the international community in general and ASEAN and China in particular, state minister M Shahriar Alam and foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque told visiting Chinese foreign ministry special envoy on Asian affairs Sun Guoxiang in Dhaka.
Before his meeting with Bangladesh official in Dhaka, Sun Guoxiang visited Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar.
He also visited Myanmar last week and talked to state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi on February 27 to assess Myanmar preparations on taking back Rohingya people, according to Myanmar media.
He also visited Hla Phoe Khaung transit centre and Shwe Zar and Min Gan villages in Rakhine state to see preparations of the Myanmar government to facilitate the repatriation process.
Reiterating the Chinese position on Rohingya return at his meetings with Alam and Haque, Sun Guoxiang stressed the need that Bangladesh should start the repatriation process bilaterally without creating international pressure on Myanmar.
The Bangladesh officials said they were keen to start the repatriation process, which also ‘requires monitoring of China and ASEAN countries in Rakhine State.’
Bangladesh authorities are also in touch with at least four ASEAN member-countries Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand seeking their support to facilitate the repatriation process.
Myanmar is also a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a regional intergovernmental organisation comprising ten members of the region.
Fatu Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the ICC, is highly unlikely to visit Bangladesh this time as a member of the preliminary investigation team, a senior official said on Tuesday.
More than 7,00,000 Rohingyas, mostly women, children and aged people, entered Bangladesh after fleeing unbridled murder, arson and rape during ‘security operations’ by Myanmar military in Rakhine, what the United Nations denounced as ethnic cleansing and genocide, beginning on 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.
Alleged atrocities were committed against the Rohingya population in Myanmar and their deportation to Bangladesh
as well as potentially other crimes under the Rome Statute, according to ICC website.
A preliminary examination is not an investigation and does not automatically bring to the opening of an investigation, but it is a process conducted by the prosecutor that examines the information available and submitted to her by any individual, group or State in order to reach a fully informed determination on whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation pursuant to the criteria established by the Rome Statute, according to ICC.
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