POST TIME: 8 September, 2018 12:16:27 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 8 September, 2018 08:24:50 AM
ICC ruling puts Myanmar under pressure, says govt

ICC ruling puts Myanmar 
under pressure, says govt

The government and experts have described as very positive the Thursday ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it has jurisdiction over forced deportations of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity. The ruling will certainly raise hope among the persecuted Rohingyas to get justice for the atrocities orchestrated against them, they said. The decision of The Hague-based court will allow its prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate the alleged heinous crimes committed by the Myanmar military before filing charges.

A panel of three ICC judges said that Myanmar is not a member of the court, but Bangladesh is and the court has jurisdiction because the deportation affected a member state.

“The Court has jurisdiction over the crime against humanity of deportation allegedly committed against members of the Rohingya people. The reason is that an element of this crime - the crossing of a border - took place on the territory of a State party (Bangladesh),” said the court.

“Indeed, it’s a significant development,” Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told The Independent yesterday, adding, “Justice is on its own course.”

However, he said, “The ongoing bilateral engagements with Myanmar to solve the Rohingya crisis will continue.”

“It’s a great news,” said Nahida Sobhan, director general of the United Nations wing of the foreign ministry.

About the next course of actions by the ICC prosecutor, she said, “It depends on the prosecutor. As the government, we have nothing to do with it. The prosecutor will devise ways as to how to take the matter further.”

“They can take the full report of the UN independent fact-finding mission. Alternatively, they can send a team to either Bangladesh or Myanmar to investigate the alleged crimes,” she added.

Both the foreign secretary and director general said that the job of the government of Bangladesh will be to facilitate any ICC investigation, if asked.

“It’s a tremendous development both in terms of accountability of the perpetrators and the contribution to the solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis,” Ambassador Humayun Kabir, a retired secretary of the foreign ministry, said.

“Myanmar is already under pressure. This rule will undoubtedly exert more pressure on the neighbouring country,” he said.

Kabir also said, “If the ICC prosecutor does decide to file charges against the perpetrators after investigation, those indicted people will have to remain in the country as most of the countries will be obligated to hand them over to the ICC.”

“Possible indictment of the perpetrators also has geopolitical significance because it will affect in terms of investment, trade and commerce with developed countries. It will also put pressure on Myanmar’s supporters like China, Russia and India,” he said.

When contacted, Dr Imtiaz Ahmed, a professor of International Relations at the University of Dhaka, also welcomed the ICC ruling, describing it as a major development which is likely to help resolve the crisis alongside bringing the perpetrators to justice.

“Undoubtedly, Myanmar will feel the pressure as any possible investigation followed by indictment will have a worldwide impact and the Rohingyas will be benefited from a favourable world opinion,” he said.

However, Dr Ahmed said, “The government will have to maintain its bilateral engagements with Myanmar to solve the problem.”

“This is a very significant move on the part of the ICC,” said Dr Asif Nazrul, a law professor of the Dhaka University.

“If the prosecutor can prosecute the perpetrators and issues arrest warrant, Myanmar is not obligated to hand them over to the ICC as it is not a party to it. But, they will be boxed, which means that they will not be able to travel to most of the countries due to the fear of being arrested to end up in the custody of the ICC,” he said, reminding, however, that the process will be lengthy