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Rohingya crisis and role of ICC

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11th-May-2018       
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THE International Criminal Court (ICC) has demanded Bangladesh's opinion on whether The Hague-based court has jurisdiction to run a case on atrocities against Rohingyas. The demand appears somewhat vague to us.
The pre-trial Chamber of the ICC has sent a letter in this regard on Monday and sought Bangladesh's opinion by June 11 either publicly or confidentially. The letter clearly mentioned by stating - "The Chamber hereby invites the competent authorities of Bangladesh to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on the prosecutor's request no later than 11 June."
First hand evidence acquired from Google satellite images, verbal accounts of refugees, photos of torching villages, beating up of refugees and clear marks of physical torture and rapes are all there. However, it is easily understandable that proof or evidence of the first degree are vital preconditions before commencing any form of trial , especially trials relating to grave crimes against humanity.
Now it's up to the government to decide how quickly it wants to pursue the legal course of action. What's even more puzzling is that last Wednesday a number of International relations experts' and diplomats said that the Bangladesh government should not be a party to encourage the International Criminal Court (ICC) to exercise jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the crime of deporting Rohingyas.
Questions involuntarily arise - why not? Why should the big-scale crimes against more than a million helpless Muslims in Myanmar not be investigated?
Referring to the ICC's letter, the Chief Executive Officer of Fortify Rights Matthew Smith wrote to the Foreign Ministry that the government of Bangladesh should encourage the ICC to exercise its jurisdiction to investigate and prosecute the international crime of deportation of Rohingya Muslims.   
On one hand a section of the international community is encouraging Bangladesh for a fair trial regarding the persecution of Rohingyas while on the other another section is preventing it. Perhaps they fear that the trial might put the repatriation process in jeopardy. We mark a clear division and conflict of interests among the experts of the international community.
The final point is that the refugees or the entire Rohingya community for that matter has not received any justice either at home or abroad. Furthermore, chances of their appropriate repatriation, as Myanmar citizens, cannot be said to be very bright at the moment. Not only do they deserve justice, they also deserve to get back their homes, properties and citizenship with dignity.   It is right at this critical juncture that the ICC, international community and Bangladesh must immediately prioritise their duties while uniting under a single umbrella.  
What should take place first - trial or rapid and proper repatriation? The crisis is entering a critical phase, especially for Bangladesh.


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