BSS-67 Myanmar can’t hinder ICC prosecution over Rohingya atrocity





Myanmar can’t hinder ICC prosecution over Rohingya atrocity

DHAKA, March 11, 2019 (BSS) – Visiting delegation from the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) today affirmed that the non-party status of Myanmar of the ICC will not hinder the prosecutor’s investigation regarding atrocities against Rohingyas and try individuals responsible.

“In fact Myanmar is not a state party (of ICC) but will not be in any way make hindrance to us in proceeding (persecution) once the criteria are met,” ICC Director of Jurisdiction, Complementary and cooperation division Phakiso Mochochoko told newsmen at a briefing before wrapping up their weeklong visit to Bangladesh in a city hotel.

He said if the legal criteria are met, the prosecutor has no alternative to carry out investigation over the atrocities over Rohingyas. On March 6, the seven-member ICC delegation arrived here for an initial probe into alleged atrocities committed against Rohingyas by the Myanmar military.

The delegation, under a preliminary examination visited refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and met with the government authorities, humanitarian authorities and NGOs, as well as numbers of victims’ representatives.

“A preliminary examination is not an investigation, but an assessment of the Rome Statute criteria to decide whether an investigation into the situation at hand is warrant,” Phakiso, who is leading the delegation, said.

Therefore, he said during the visit, as is standard practice of the Office, the delegation did not collect evidence or perform any other investigative activities. The independent and impartial preliminary examination of the situation in Bangladesh is on-going and will follow its course, he said.

Phakiso said the next stage is to carry out investigation against the atrocities committed against the Rohingyas.

“This preliminary examination can lead to a formal investigation by the ICC and then possible indictments,” he added.

Meanwhile, the foreign minister AK Abdul Momen has said the ICC investigation will help to create more international pressure on Myanmar to take necessary steps for safe repatriation of the displaced Rohingya people from Bangladesh.

“It’s a matter of the ICC, not ours. As we are party of ICC, we are helping them by providing information regarding Rohingya crisis,” he told reporters after attending a programme in the city on Sunday.

On May 7, 2018, the pre-trial chamber of the ICC sent a letter to Dhaka to know Bangladesh’s opinion on whether The Hague-based court has the jurisdiction to run a case on atrocities against Rohingyas.

The ICC sought Dhaka to make opinion on three specific matters by June 11 in this regards and Bangladesh responded the request accordingly.

Prosecutor Bensouda opened the case at the ICC last year in September to probe into the Myanmar’s alleged crimes against the ethnic minority, including killings, sexual violence and forced deportations.