• Wednesday, Mar 20, 2019
  • Last Update : 09:40 pm

‘ICC has no jurisdiction over Myanmar’

  • Published at 08:47 pm August 9th, 2018
Rohingya refugees, who crossed the border from Myanmar, walk after they received permission from the Bangladeshi army to continue on to the refugee camps, in Palang Khali, near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh October 19, 2017 Reuters

Myanmar has also alleged procedural irregularities and lack of transparency on the court's part

Myanmar on Thursday said the International Criminal Court (ICC) has no jurisdiction to run a case on atrocities against Rohingyas.

"Myanmar is not party to the Rome Statute and the Court has no jurisdiction over Myanmar whatsoever," reads a statement from Myanmar's Ministry of the Office of the State Counsellor.

The ICC, Myanmar said, has the jurisdiction to prosecute individuals for the international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, and war crimes.

It came up with the observations as the ICC wanted to know Myanmar's opinion on whether the Hague-based court has jurisdiction to run the case.

Also Read - Dhaka pushes to end impunity, highlights plight of Rohingyas at ICC

Myanmar came with its decision at a time when a high-level delegation led by Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali is on a four-day visit to Myanmar to discuss progress on Rohingya repatriation with Myanmar leadership.

The Bangladesh delegation comprising members of joint working group formed earlier for the repatriation of Rohingyas living in Bangladesh will see what steps Myanmar has taken so far for creating a conducive environment for the safe return of Rohingyas.

Minister Ali is likely to go to Northern Rakhine apart from holding meetings with the Myanmar leaders, a Bangladesh Foreign Ministry official said.

The pre-trial Chamber of the ICC invited the competent authorities of Myanmar to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on three specific matters by July 27, a senior official said.

The three specific areas are-

1. The possibility of the court's exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh

2. The circumstances surrounding the crossing of the border by members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh

3. Any other matter in connection with the prosecutor's request that, in the opinion of the competent authorities of Myanmar, would assist the chamber in its determination of this request.

International leaders must offer more than just words Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune


But Myanmar has declined to engage with the ICC by way of a formal reply.

Myanmar said the request by the prosecutor may be interpreted as an indirect attempt to acquire jurisdiction over Myanmar which is not a State Party to the Rome Statute.

"Myanmar, as a non-State Party, is under no obligation to enter into litigation with the prosecutor at the ICC or even to accept note verbales emanating from their registry," reads the statement.

It said Myanmar is concerned with the lack of "fairness and transparency" of the ICC proceedings.

Earlier, Bangladesh opted for 'confidential' mode of submission to the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the Rohingya issue as a testament to its 'keenness to seek a bilateral solution' to this problem. Dhaka submitted written observations confidentially on three specific matters.

Bangladesh concurred with both the territorial jurisdiction as well as the claim of forcible deportation of Rohingyas as Bangladesh believes in 'establishing accountability for the atrocities' committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar, according to another Foreign Ministry official.

Rohingya refugees cross the Naf River with an improvised raft to reach Bangladesh at Sabrang near Teknaf, Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on November 10, 2017 Reuters  As a State Party to the ICC, Bangladesh is obliged to follow the court's requests and suggestions.

International pressure on Myanmar is mounting afresh as it remained 'very slow' in creating conditions for the safe return of Rohingyas from Bangladesh.

Earlier, Bangladesh, as one of the State Parties to the Rome Statute, responded to the request of the ICC regarding the Rohingya situation, particularly about the territorial jurisdiction of the ICC as Bangladesh is seeking a "sustainable solution" to the crisis.

A diplomat in Dhaka said in 1993 when the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia was established, few believed that suspects like Ratko Mladic and Radovan Karadzic, the Bosnian Serb leaders, would ever have to account for themselves.

Analyzing the current situation, another diplomat said: "Time is quite right for history to repeat itself."