A glimmer of hope for Rohingya victims, as ICC says it has jurisdiction over alleged deportations

06/09/2018
Press release

(The Hague) FIDH and its member organizations Odhikar and ALTSEAN-Burma welcome today’s ruling by the Pre-Trial Chamber I of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that the court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Bangladesh.

Our organizations commend the ICC Office of the Prosecutor’s innovative efforts towards accountability for the crimes allegedly committed against the Rohingya people, and urges the Prosecutor to promptly proceed with the opening of a preliminary examination followed by an investigation into the situation. Our organizations also urge the governments of Myanmar and Bangladesh to cooperate fully with the work of the ICC and call on states parties to the Rome Statute to cooperate with ICC accountability efforts on Myanmar.

“The judges’ decision offers a glimmer of hope for justice for the thousands of Rohingya victims who were deported to Bangladesh from Myanmar and continue to suffer in Bangladesh as a result of this serious crime.”

Adilur Rahman Khan, Odhikar Secretary and FIDH Vice-President

Today’s ruling comes after months of deliberation since the ICC Prosecutor sought a ruling from the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber on whether the court could exercise its jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The ICC Prosecutor argued that an essential part of the deportation of Rohingya people, the enforced displacement of individuals across an international border, occurred in Bangladesh, a state party to the ICC. Accordingly, it opined the court had territorial jurisdiction over the alleged crime. The Pre-Trial Chamber I agreed with the Prosecutor’s argument and found that the court may also exercise its jurisdiction with regard to any other crimes set out in Article 5 of the Rome Statute, such as the crimes against humanity of persecution and/or other inhumane acts, if at least one element of these crimes occurred on the territory of Bangladesh.

“While today’s ruling is a big step towards accountability for crimes in Myanmar, it does not address the demands for justice for Rohingya who were subjected to crimes other than deportation and for other ethnic groups in Myanmar. The international community must now work together to establish an inclusive justice mechanism for all victims and for all crimes in Myanmar.”

Debbie Stothard, ALTSEAN-Burma Coordinator and FIDH Secretary-General

A report released by the United Nations (UN)-mandated Independent International Fact-Finding Mission (IIFFM) on Myanmar on 27 August 2018 found that the crimes against humanity of extermination and deportation were allegedly committed in Rakhine State.

FIDH, Odhikar, and ALTSEAN-Burma call on the international community to establish a mechanism tasked with making preparations ahead of other potential prosecutions of crimes allegedly committed in Myanmar, such as the International, Impartial, and Independent Mechanism (IIIM) proposed by the IIFFM, and already in use for the situation of Syria.

Press contacts
FIDH: Ms. Maryna Chebat (French, English) - Tel: +33648059157 (Paris)
FIDH: Mr. Andrea Giorgetta (English) - Tel: +66886117722 (Bangkok)
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