ICC delegation in city to discuss atrocities against Rohingyas

Published: July 16, 2019 17:10:59 | Updated: July 17, 2019 11:12:22

A delegation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrived here on Tuesday morning on a weeklong visit to talk to government senior officials and representatives of international organisations over the Rohingya issue.

The delegation, led by ICC Deputy Prosecutor James Kirkpatrick Stewart, landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 8:54am, reports UNB.

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda considers that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation in relation to the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh and related crimes committed in the context of the 2016 and 2017 waves of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar.

The Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has already requested its judges to authorise an investigation into alleged crimes like deportation, other inhumane acts and persecution committed against Rohingyas.

The ICC delegation members are scheduled to hold a meeting with Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque at state guesthouse Padma at 9:30am on Wednesday.

Later, they will meet Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan at his Secretariat office at 12pm and Law Minister Anisul Huq in Gulshan at 3pm on the same day.

The ICC delegation will have an internal meeting on Thursday and leave for Cox's Bazar on Friday afternoon.

They will visit Rohingya camps and hold a meeting with government authorities there on Saturday.

On Sunday, the ICC delegation members will hold meetings with Cox's Bazar DC, Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) and regional heads of Rapid action Battalion (Rab), BGB and acting superintendent of police in Cox's Bazar.

They are scheduled to leave Dhaka on Monday (July 22).

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

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.

Investigating deportation will, however, mean taking a close look at the alleged violence that left the Rohingya no genuine choice but to flee Myanmar.

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 the Rakhine state 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 from 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 the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

The office of the prosecutor has carefully assessed available information on relevant national proceedings.

In light of the gravity of the acts committed -- the details of which are outlined in the request -- and the absence of relevant national investigations or prosecutions in Myanmar or in relevant third states, against those who appear to be most responsible for the most serious crimes within this situation.

The prosecutor has determined that there are no substantial reasons to believe that the opening of an investigation would not serve the interests of justice, taking into account the gravity of the crimes and the interests of victims.

The office of the prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

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