Rohingya issue: ICC calls for Myanmar’s opinion
UNB – Published at 12:24 pm June 22nd, 2018 – Last updated at 01:28 pm June 22nd, 2018
The pre-trial Chamber of the ICC on Thursday invited competent Myanmar authorities to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on three specific matters by July 27. After asking Bangladesh, the International Criminal Court (ICC) now wants to know Myanmar’s opinion on whether The Hague-based court has jurisdiction to run a case on atrocities against the Rohingyas.
The pre-trial Chamber of the ICC on Thursday invited competent Myanmar authorities to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on three specific matters by July 27, a senior official told UNB.
The three specific areas are, the possibility of the Court’s exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh; the circumstances surrounding the crossing of the border by members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh; and any other matter in connection with the prosecutor’s request that, in the opinion of the competent authorities of Myanmar, would assist the Chamber in its determination of this request.
The Registrar of the Court has already notified competent authorities of Myanmar about the decision, together with a copy of the prosecutor’s request.
The pre-trial Chamber of the ICC issued the decision inviting competent authorities of Myanmar to submit observations on the prosecution’s request for a ruling on jurisdiction. In her request, the prosecutor said that since August 2017, more than 670,000 members of the Rohingya people, lawfully present in Myanmar, have been intentionally deported into Bangladesh.
Considering that the crime of deportation is said to have commenced on Myanmar territory , the Chamber deems it appropriate to seek observations on the prosecutor’s request from competent authorities in Myanmar. Such observations would, in these particular circumstances, assist the Chamber in its determination of the request sub-judice.
Earlier, the pre-trial chamber of the ICC sent a letter in this regard and sought Bangladesh’s opinion by June 11, either publicly or confidentially. Bangladesh responded to the ICC accordingly. There was a closed-door hearing at the ICC in The Hague on Wednesday, about Bangladesh’s submission on the Rohingya issue, but there has been no further information in this regard yet.
“The hearing did take place but a decision is still awaited,” a senior Foreign Ministry official here in Dhaka told UNB. On June 11, Bangladesh Ambassador to the Netherlands, Sheikh Mohammed Belal, who was in Dhaka earlier for consultations, submitted a copy of Bangladesh’s observations to the court based in The Hague. ICC Registrar, Peter Lewis, received the submission.
Responding to a question, the official said they would have to wait for the redacted transcript which may be available within a week as the hearing was held behind closed-doors. Diplomatic sources say Bangladesh need not worry about any decision that may be forthcoming, expecting it to be good for Bangladesh.
International pressure on Myanmar is mounting afresh as it remained ‘very slow’ in creating conditions for the safe return of Rohingyas from Bangladesh. Earlier, Bangladesh being one of the States Parties to the Rome Statute, responded to the ICC request regarding the Rohingya situation, particularly about the territorial jurisdiction of the ICC as Bangladesh is seeking a “sustainable solution” to the crisis.
A diplomat in Dhaka said that in 1993, when the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was established, few believed that suspects like Bosnian Serb leaders Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, would ever have to account for themselves.
Analysing the current situation, another diplomat said, “Time is quite right for history to repeat itself.” Bangladesh submitted written observations confidentially on three specific matters.
These were: the circumstances surrounding the presence of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar on the territory of Bangladesh; the possibility of the Court’s exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh; and any other matter in connection with the prosecutor’s request that, in the opinion of competent Bangladesh authorities, would assist the Chamber in its determination of this request.