ICC agrees to open investigation into crimes against Rohingya

UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The International Criminal Court (ICC) said in a statement on Thursday that its judges had approved a prosecutor’s request to open an investigation into crimes against humanity committed against Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, prompting them to systematically flee across the border into Bangladesh.

More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled Bangladesh since Myanmar’s military launched a security crackdown in 2017 that UN investigators described as a “genocide intent”. Myanmar’s Buddhist majority denies genocide charges.

Although the allegations of genocide fall within the jurisdiction of the ICC, they will not be investigated because Myanmar is not a signatory to the treaty establishing the court.

But the court’s judges say that although Myanmar is not a member, it is competent to look into crimes that may have been part of it across the border in Bangladesh, a member of the court.

In a statement, the court said prosecutors were given permission to examine facts that could amount to systematic crimes against the Rohingya, including forced deportation, a crime against humanity, and persecution based on race or religion.

The ICC is the second international court to hear atrocities believed to have been committed against the Rohingya after the Gambia filed a case with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) against Myanmar on Monday saying it had committed genocide against the Muslim minority. The United Nations International Court of Justice is concerned with disputes between States.

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