ICC forms pre-trial chamber on atrocities against Rohingyas

Rohingyas refugees hurt in Ukhia lanslide
In this photograph taken on May 7, 2018, sand bags are seen on the roof of a shelter to weigh it down in preparation for the upcoming monsoon season in Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia. File photo: AFP

In a step forward, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has constituted a pre-trial chamber and assigned it to the situation in Bangladesh and Myanmar in regard to the alleged crimes against the Rohingyas.

The Pre-Trial Chamber III is composed of Judge Robert Fremr, Judge Olga Herrera Carbuccia and Judge Geoffrey Henderson, according to a statement of the ICC today.

The decision came following a notice by ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, informing the ICC Presidency of her intention to submit a request for an authorisation to open an investigation into the crimes against the Rohingyas.

Some 740,000 Rohingyas fled atrocities in Rakhine State of Myanmar to Bangladesh since August 2017.

Bensouda notified the judges that she would seek an authorisation "to investigate alleged crimes within the Court's jurisdiction in which at least one element occurred on the territory of the People's Republic of Bangladesh -- a State Party to the Rome Statute since June 1, 2010 -- and within the context of two waves of violence in Rakhine State on the territory of the Republic of the Union of Myanmar, as well as any other crimes which are sufficiently linked to these events".

Once the prosecutor submits her request, it will then be for the judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber III to decide whether or not to authorise the prosecutor to open an investigation into the situation.

The judges will have to consider whether there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation, upon examination of the prosecutor's request and the supporting material.

On September 6 last year, following a request submitted by the prosecutor, ICC Pre-Trial Chamber I decided by majority that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

Later, on September 18, the prosecutor announced the opening of a preliminary examination concerning the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.


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