The state minister for foreign affairs says Bangladesh’s steps are always guided by universal values and laws
Bangladesh, being a member of Rome Statute, has responded to the request of the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the Rohingya issue as the country is seeking a "sustainable solution" to the crisis.
"Yes, we have responded to the ICC request," State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam told UNB yesterday.
Without elaborating when the reply was sent, he said it was in fact mandatory for the government to respond.
He said Bangladesh had provided the information only as requested by the ICC. "We have provided all the information they asked for and everything that we know from our experience."
"We are, however, still committed to settle the matter bilaterally," the state minister said, adding that the five-point proposal to Myanmar made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in New York was still on the table.
"We are committed to that five-point proposal to find the solution," he said.
Responding to a question, Shahriar said Bangladesh, under Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, was a "responsive and responsible" state. "Our actions are always guided by universal values and laws.”
On Tuesday, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali had said that they would work to protect the country's interests when asked if Bangladesh would respond to the ICC’s call on the Rohingya issue.
He also said they were working for a sustainable and voluntary return of the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.
The ICC wanted to know Bangladesh's opinion on whether The Hague-based court had jurisdiction to run a case on atrocities against the Rohingyas.
The court’s Pre-Trial Chamber had sent a letter in this regard on Monday and sought Bangladesh's opinion by June 11 either publicly or confidentially.
The chamber had sought written observations on three specific matters.
They are- (i) the circumstances surrounding the presence of the Rohingya people from Myanmar on Bangladesh’s territory; (ii) the possibility of the court's exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh; and (iii) any other matter in connection with Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda's request that, in the opinion of the competent authorities of Bangladesh, would assist the chamber in its determination of this request.
The chamber ordered the registrar to notify this decision to the authorities in Bangladesh together with a copy of the prosecutor's request.
On April 9, Prosecutor Bensouda had submitted her request in pursuant to regulation 46(3) of the regulations of the ICC and Article 19(3) of the Rome Statute.
Two days later, the president of the Pre-Trial Division assigned her request the chamber.
In the request, the prosecutor sought a ruling from the Pre-Trial Chamber on the question whether the ICC may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of more than 700,000 Rohingyas from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Afterwards, the chamber had sought Bangladesh’s take on the matter.
Recently, 41 eminent citizens of the country also urged the government to respond to the ICC’s request for observations and support the prosecutor’s view that the court may assert jurisdiction against Myanmar.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who left for Canada yesterday evening to attend a special outreach session at the G7 Summit, is also set to discuss the Rohingya crisis with her Canadian counterpart Justin Trudeau on Sunday.