Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) today urged the government to provide evidence of mass atrocities against Rohingyas to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
By starting trial for the crimes against humanity in the Hague-based court, ICC will provide a chance for justice for the Rohingya community and help create international pressure on Myanmar and its allied states, TIB said in a statement.
The ICC on May 7 sent a letter to Bangladesh seeking written observations by June 11 on ICC’s jurisdiction over forced deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
Some 700,000 Rohingyas fled military crackdown in Rakhine since August last year. Rights groups said thousands were killed, many women were raped, and houses were burnt and bulldozed – the events that the UN said have hallmarks of genocide.
UN Security Council has failed to refer the situation in Myanmar to the ICC. Against this backdrop, ICC wrote to Bangladesh. Earlier on April 9, the ICC prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, asked the court to rule whether it has the jurisdiction over the deportation of the Myanmar nationals, a possible crime against humanity.
Myanmar is not a member of the court, but the fact that part of the alleged crimes took place in Bangladesh, which is a member of the ICC, means the court could seek powers of jurisdiction, Bensouda argued.
Referring to media reports, TIB said, Bangladesh is still in confusion regarding response to the ICC letter.
The anti-corruption watchdog said it is unjust to pass on the burden of one million Rohingya to Bangladesh. Myanmar government and the international community have to take responsibility for them, it said.
“The ICC initiative is a ray of hope for justice for the Rohingya who faced mass killings and atrocities by the Myanmar military. The armed forces operated the crackdown meant for ethnic cleansing,” said TIB Executive Director Dr Iftekharuzzman.
Bangladesh, which is a victim of crimes against humanity, will stand strong for justice, TIB expected.
It will be a significant step for Bangladesh to provide observations and evidence to the ICC, Iftekharuzzaman said adding “Strong position in favour of the ICC initiative will speed up the whole process”.
Besides, as a member country of ICC, Bangladesh can play important role in bringing the perpetrators of mass atrocities to account, he said.
“As a result, a historic opportunity will be created for accountability of the international community, including the United Nations, which has been playing a role of silent spectator in the preparation period of ethnic cleansing by Myanmar’s armed forces,” Iftekharuzzaman said.