Tuesday, June 18, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh urged to investigate newly arrived Myanmar Border Guards for atrocity crimes

  • Align with ICC investigation into crimes against Rohingya
  • On Tuesday, BGB reported entry of 264 Myanmar BGP members
Update : 08 Feb 2024, 07:06 PM

Fortify Rights has called on the Bangladesh government to probe the recent influx of Myanmar Border Guard Police (BGP) for potential involvement in atrocities and to align with the International Criminal Court’s (ICC) investigation into crimes against the Rohingya population.

In the wake of conflicts with the Arakan Army in Rakhine State in Myanmar, hundreds of Myanmar BGP have sought refuge in Bangladesh. Matthew Smith, CEO of Fortify Rights, emphasized the importance of Bangladesh providing aid and protection to these individuals, while scrutinizing their past actions for any criminal involvement.

“It would be in the interest of other Myanmar military, police, and border guards to come forward and cooperate with international justice mechanisms,” he said.

“These border guards might have information that could help hold perpetrators accountable for the Rohingya genocide and other crimes unfolding in Myanmar, and they should be properly investigated," Smith added.

On Tuesday, Bangladesh’s Border Guard reported the entry of 264 Myanmar BGP members, including some critically injured, who are now receiving medical treatment locally.

Mohammed Mizanur Rahman, Bangladesh's Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner based in Cox's Bazar, told media that the Myanmar border guards could be accommodated in the nearby district of Bandarban before being sent back to Myanmar.

An ICC decision on November 14, 2019 authorized the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) to investigate any crime related to the situation in Myanmar that was allegedly committed, at least in part, on the territory of Bangladesh.

The court has yet to issue arrest warrants related to atrocity crimes against Rohingya.

The OTP’s investigation has been underway for approximately four years.

Bangladesh became a state party to the ICC in 2010 and previously coordinated with the court to bring alleged perpetrators from Myanmar to justice.

In September 2020, two Myanmar military soldiers — Army Privates Myo Win Tun and Zaw Naing Tun — appeared on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border, requesting protection from Bangladesh authorities.

As a state party to the Rome Statute, Dhaka notified the ICC of the presence of the two former soldiers, who confessed to their involvement in massacres, rape, and other crimes against Rohingya in Myanmar.

The soldiers were transferred to The Hague and are the first-ever perpetrators from Myanmar to be in the hands of the ICC.

The Bangladesh authorities should also coordinate and cooperate with the International Independent Mechanism for Myanmar (IIMM) in the collection of evidence of international crimes in Myanmar, said Fortify Rights.

The UN Human Rights Council created the IIMM in 2019 to collect and preserve evidence of international crimes in Myanmar for future prosecutions.

In 2016 and 2017, the Myanmar military led genocidal attacks on Rohingya people in Rakhine State that razed hundreds of villages, killed, raped, and tortured untold numbers, and forced more than 700,000 people into Bangladesh.

Fortify Rights, the US Government, a UN-appointed Fact-Finding Mission, Rohingya-led organizations, and others have found that the attacks constituted genocide.

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