The Bangladesh government should submit its observations and documents relating to torture, rape and killing of Rohingyas driven out by Burma, to the International Criminal Court (ICC) within the stipulated timeframe. Dhaka should assist the ICC in dealing with the issue, said speakers at a seminar on Monday, 4th June.
Centre for Genocide Studies of Dhaka University (DU), Centre for Peace and Justice of Brac University and Action Aid Bangladesh jointly organised the event on “Accountability: International Criminal Court and the Rohingya Crisis” at Nawab Nabab Ali Chowdhury senate building of Dhaka University.
Justice Refaat Ahmed, UN Drugs and Crime office consultant Kate Vigneswaran and Australia’s Hornsby Shire Mayor Phillip Maxwell Ruddock spoke as a special guest, while Director of Centre for Genocide Studies at Dhaka University, Professor Imtiaz Ahmed chaired at the function.
Farah Kabir, Country Director of ActionAid Bangladesh and Manzoor Alam, Executive Director of the Centre for Peace and Justice at BRAC University and Chair of ActionAid Bangladesh also spoke in the occasion.
Justice Refaat Ahmed said, it is time to gather all documents and submit those to the ICC by Bangladesh.
Mentioning that Bangladesh territory has been specifically targeted by Burma to dump its ethnic Muslim minority, Justice Refaat said, it is true Bangladesh government has not made the request for ICC investigation, it is open for ICC prosecutor to act on his own initiative to open the investigation under Rome Statute.
Professor Imtiaz Ahmed said, though there are some legal complexities, Bangladesh should give positive response to ICC request.
The Rohingya crisis is not a bilateral issue, but if Bangladesh wants to try go for solving it bilaterally, it can continue effort as well while it should also cooperate with ICC to make its way.
“Bangladesh should submit their observations to ICC before the deadline to contribute in establishing accountability,” he added.
On April 9, the Prosecutor of the ICC sought a ruling on the question of jurisdiction that “whether the court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged expulsion of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh”.
The Prosecution said even though Burma is not bound by the Rome Statute, the ICC may nevertheless exercise jurisdiction over the alleged crime against humanity because there is an ‘essential element’ of expelling its own people across international border into Bangladesh, which is a state party to the statute.
On April 11 the pre-trial chamber of ICC gave its favorable decision to open investigation and on May 7, the ICC requested Bangladesh government to submit written observations on the issue of jurisdiction by June 11 this year. June 20 has been set for hearing.
Source: The New Nation