Friday, November 15, 2019

International Criminal Court Authorizes Investigation Into Persecution of Rohingya By Myanmar

Yesterday, in a 58-page decision (full text), a 3-judge Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court sitting at The Hague authorized an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya Muslims by Myanmar. The Court's press release summarizes the decision:
The Chamber concluded that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over crimes when part of the criminal conduct takes place on the territory of a State Party. While Myanmar is not a State Party, Bangladesh ratified the ICC Rome statute in 2010. Upon review of the available information, the Chamber accepted that there exists a reasonable basis to believe widespread and/or systematic acts of violence may have been committed that could qualify as the crimes against humanity of deportation across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border and persecution on grounds of ethnicity and/or religion against the Rohingya population..... 
Noting the scale of the alleged crimes and the number of victims allegedly involved, the Chamber considered that the situation clearly reaches the gravity threshold. According to the supporting material, an estimated 600,000 to one million Rohingya were forcibly displaced from Myanmar to neighbouring Bangladesh as a result of the alleged coercive acts. Noting the victims' views, the Chamber agreed with the Prosecutor that there are no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation into the situation would not be in the interests of justice.