Judges Rule ICC ‘Has Jurisdiction’ Over Crimes Against Rohingya

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A girl stands on the sandy banks of the natural boundary between Myanmar and Bangladesh near a makeshift camp in Rakhine state in Myanmar. — File photo

THE HAGUE (AA) — The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday ruled that it has jurisdiction to investigate the crimes against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

“The Court has jurisdiction over the crime against humanity of deportation allegedly committed against members of the Rohingya people,” the Hague-based court said in a statement.

“The reason is that an element of this crime — the crossing of a border — took place on the territory of a State party [Bangladesh],” it added.

The statement said it “may also exercise its jurisdiction with regard to any other crime set out in article 5 of the [ICC Rome] Statute, such as the crimes against humanity of persecution and/or other inhumane acts.”

The court urged that the prosecutor must take the legally binding ruling into account “as she continues with her preliminary examination concerning the crimes allegedly committed against the Rohingya people.”

The court further said a preliminary examination must be concluded within a reasonable time.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, some 750,000 Rohingya, mostly children and women, have fled to neighboring Bangladesh after Myanmar forces began a crackdown on the minority Muslim community, according to Amnesty International.

At least 9,400 Rohingya were killed in Myanmar’s Rakhine State from Aug. 25 to Sept. 24, 2017, according to Doctors Without Borders.

In a report published last December, the global humanitarian group said the deaths of 71.7 pe cent or 6,700 Rohingya were caused by violence. They include 730 children below the age of 5.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by security personnel. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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