ICC prosecutor seeks Rohingya probe

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Desk Report:

A prosecutor from the international criminal court (ICC) has sought jurisdiction over the ‘deportation’ of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, with the aim of investigating and prosecuting those responsible.

In a filing published on Monday, the court prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said, “This is not an abstract question but a concrete one, affecting whether the court may exercise jurisdiction … to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute.”

As non-member of International Criminal Court, Burma probably thought it could rely on China veto to avoid jurisdiction for Rohingya atrocities, but the prosecutor cleverly now seeks jurisdiction through Bangladesh (an ICC member) for crime of deportation. https://t.co/TXLEndEk94 pic.twitter.com/Cnt5H1ROfq

— Kenneth Roth (@KenRoth) April 9, 2018

The file reads, “The prosecution requests the President of the Pre-Trial Division to assign this matter promptly to a Pre-Trial Chamber, pursuant to regulation 46(3), and the assigned Pre-Trial Chamber to rule under article 19(3) on the question whether the Court may exercise jurisdiction under article 12(2)(a) over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.”

The prosecutor is seeking a ruling to “verify that the Court has territorial jurisdiction when persons are deported from the territory of a State which is not a party to the Statute directly into the territory of a State which is a party to the Statute.”

Bensouda argued that, given the cross-border nature of the crime of deportation, a ruling in favour of ICC jurisdiction would be in line with established legal principles.

Meanwhile, while asked about the latest development, a diplomat on condition of anonymity told UNB, “This is a huge breakthrough in the field of international law and norms.”

Myanmar is on the way to ICC dock, he added.

Bangladesh and Myanmar signed the repatriation agreement on November 23, 2017. On January 16, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on ‘Physical Arrangement’ which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.

The ‘Physical Arrangement’ stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start of repatriation.

Bangladesh currently has a Rohingya population, which is far more than Bhutan’s entire population.

Bhutan has around 800,000 people whereas Bangladesh had to give shelter to some 1.2 million Rohingyas.unb

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