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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

ICC team arrives in Bangladesh to examine crimes against Rohingyas

However, the delegation will not engage in any evidence collection in relation to any alleged crimes, according to the prosecutor’s office

Update : 07 Mar 2019, 12:40 AM

A team of the International Criminal Court (ICC), based in The Hague, is already in Bangladesh to examine crimes committed against the Rohingyas sheltered in Cox’s Bazar, the office of the court’s prosecutor told the Dhaka Tribune on Wednesday night.

“We can confirm that a team from the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court is visiting Bangladesh in the context of the office’s ongoing preliminary examinations concerning the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar,” said an email from the office of ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda in response to queries.

The email, however, did not say when the team arrived in Bangladesh and when it would leave.

This correspondent also contacted the refugee relief and repatriation commissioner, director general of the United Nations wing of the Foreign Ministry, chief of protocol, a senior information official of the UN office in Dhaka, and the deputy commissioner of Cox’s Bazar, but none provided any information about the ICC team’s arrival and activities.

The email from Bensouda’s office also said that the prosecutor was not part of the ICC delegation, in its first such visit, and did not say whether she would visit Bangladesh in near future.

“A preliminary examination is not an investigation. Such visits in the context of preliminary examinations are standard practice, and the delegation will not engage in any evidence collection in relation to any alleged crimes,” said the email.

“The independent and impartial preliminary examination of the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar is on-going and following its normal course,” it said, adding: “The Office of the Prosecutor is grateful to the authorities of Bangladesh for hosting the delegation and for their cooperation.”

On September 6 last year, the ICC, in response to a request from Prosecutor Bensouda, ruled that the court had jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya people from Rakhine in Myanmar to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity.

Following the ruling, Bensouda issued a statement on September 18 stating that a preliminary examination into the allegations of crimes committed by Myanmar by forcing deportation Rohingyas from Rakhine to Cox’s Bazar had begun.

The United Nations estimates that some 740,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh following a brutal crackdown by the Myanmar military in response to attacks by Rohingya insurgents on security posts in August 2017.

Bangladesh is currently hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees in total in a number of camps in Cox’s Bazar.

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