Published: Mon, September 10, 2018
Worldwide | By Jermaine Blake

Myanmar says International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in Rohingya

Myanmar says International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in Rohingya

On Thursday, the International Criminal Court ruled it had jurisdiction over Myanmar's alleged deportation of Rohingya, paving the way for the court's prosecutor to further examine whether there is sufficient evidence to file charges.

The court says in a statement that the chief prosecutor must take the jurisdiction ruling into account "as she continues with her preliminary examination concerning the crimes allegedly committed against the Rohingya people".

"This decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya who were driven out of their homes, often as soldiers opened fire on them and burned down their villages", Biraj Patnaik, South Asia director of Amnesty", said on Friday. International condemnation against widespread human rights violations in Myanmar has increased following a 27 August United Nations report of its Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar.

Zaw Htay also lashed out at Facebook for pulling down the pages of Myanmar's army chief and other top military brass on Monday, saying that the move could hamper the government's efforts with "national reconciliation".

The worldwide court's ruling comes amid a question of jurisdiction since Myanmar is not a member of the Hague-based court and the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC.

About 700,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown and most are now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

It is a legally complicated request, as Myanmar is not a signatory and member of the Rome Statute which underpins the ICC. Bensouda said it "is not completed until the bullet (fired in one state) strikes and kills the victim (standing in another state)".

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The ICC ruling followed worldwide outrage triggered by the sentencing of two local Reuters journalists earlier this week for seven years in jail under a draconian state secrets act.

Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's civilian leader, has faced criticism for remaining silent on the jailings.

Thursday's ruling now leaves a path for the ICC to announce the formal opening of a preliminary investigation into the Rohingya crisis.

But the road to a tribunal will be long and complex, with China likely try to thwart any prosecution of its ally at the world's only permanent war crimes court.

Myanmar denies any systematic abuses, insisting its military actions were a proportionate response to attacks by Rohingya militants.

Santiago said this ruling, however, is for now just on the jurisdiction to investigate around the alleged crime of deportation and we must be cautious in our optimism.

Journalists in Indonesia protested in front of the Myanmar embassy in Jakarta, demanding the reporters' release and freedom of the press.

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