12:00 AM, March 11, 2018 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:40 PM, March 11, 2018
Myanmar’s Rohingya Genocide
ICC referral: Need of the hour
By Prof. C R Abrar
As hopes for an early, voluntary, safe and dignified repatriation of the Rohingya refugees to a protected homeland in Arakan fade, as Myanmar authorities persist in a “systematic,” lower-intensity persecution and violence in northern Arakan, and as new batches of expelled Rohingyas continue to cross the border into Bangladesh, the demand for bringing the perpetrators of the heinous crime to justice, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and her military cohorts, gains traction.
On Friday, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, the United Nations human rights chief, called for allegations of atrocities committed against the Rohingyas to be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for prosecution. Earlier, he informed the Human Rights Council that he strongly suspected that “acts of genocide” might have taken place against Rohingyas in Rakhine since August last year. He construed reports of bulldozing of alleged mass graves as a “deliberate attempt by the authorities to destroy evidence of potential international crimes, including possible crimes against humanity.” The rights chief urged UN General Assembly to establish a new independent mechanism to expedite criminal proceedings in courts against those responsible.
Earlier, Prof. Yanghee Lee, the UN’s human rights envoy to Myanmar, expressed the view that there were grounds for bringing the country’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, before an international tribunal for failing to intervene in the “clearance operation” the military had launched in Arakan following alleged militant attacks on several police posts and army base on August 25, 2017.
In another move, three female Nobel peace laureates urged Bangladesh, the UN and other state parties to refer Myanmar military and other perpetrators to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for the “genocide” against the Rohingyas. “Alternatively, the ICC prosecutor should open an independent investigation into the crimes against humanity and genocide perpetrated in Rakhine state,” they observed, after visiting Rohingya refugee sites in Bangladesh. One of the three laureates and an eminent legal expert, Shirin Ebadi, stated that as Myanmar was not a state party to the Rome Statute, the UN Security Council can recognise Myanmar’s crimes against humanity and then refer that to the ICC. “We want this case to be discussed at the UN Security Council and there is sufficient evidence for this to take place,” she asserted.
Denouncing the Myanmar army’s “bald-faced lie” against the “mountains of evidence,” Phil Robertson of the Human Rights Watch noted that “they’ve been covering up their human rights atrocities for decades.” Referring to absurd claims of the Myanmar military leadership, Robertson observed, “Statements like these indicate why the international community must prioritise hauling Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and other Burmese military commanders up in the international criminal court to stand trial for the crimes against humanity they’ve ordered or committed.” Read more ›