DHAKA: Authorities in Bangladesh announced on Thursday that they are prepared to assist with an investigation by the International Criminal Court into potential crimes committed by Myanmar against the Rohingya. This statement came as the court’s chief prosecutor concluded their official visit to Cox’s Bazar.
On Tuesday, ICC Prosecutor Karim Khan arrived in Dhaka for a four-day visit. He is here to investigate possible crimes against humanity committed by the Myanmar military. In 2017, the military carried out a brutal crackdown that resulted in the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people, who sought refuge in neighboring Bangladesh.
According to Mizanur Rahman, the Bangladeshi Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, he visited two camps today and had conversations with multiple victims.
He asked us to work together during the investigation, and of course, we will fully cooperate.
Earlier this week, Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen had a meeting with Khan. The Foreign Affairs Ministry stated that during the meeting, the minister assured the ICC prosecutor of Bangladesh’s support and cooperation regarding the investigation into the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar, specifically referring to the Rohingya case.
There are over 1 million Rohingya people currently living in the overcrowded and unsanitary camps of Cox’s Bazar. They had to escape from violence and persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and seek refuge in neighboring Bangladesh almost six years ago.
Myanmar is not a member of the ICC, but the court has ruled that it has jurisdiction over certain crimes related to the Rohingya due to their cross-border nature.
In a tweet after his earlier meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Khan emphasized the importance of not forgetting about the Rohingya and the need for accountability.
The Rohingya community in Cox’s Bazar had been looking forward to meeting with Khan in order to express their concerns about the slow progress of their ICC case.
Maung Sawyeddollah, the founder of Rohingya Students Network, expressed his belief that meeting with him would provide an opportunity to ask him questions and address concerns regarding the process of the proceedings.
In March, the ICC (International Criminal Court) issued an arrest warrant for President Vladimir Putin, alleging that he is personally responsible for war crimes. The charges specifically relate to the abductions of children from Ukraine, which were investigated by Khan last year.
However, in 2019, ICC judges approved a comprehensive investigation into the alleged crimes committed by Myanmar, particularly the forced deportation of Rohingya people from Rakhine State. Khan is going on another trip this week, which is a continuation of his first visit in February 2022.
Sawyeddollah mentioned that the case of the Rohingya happened before the case of Ukraine. What we are witnessing is a development in the situation regarding Ukraine, but unfortunately, we have yet to see a resolution in the case of the Rohingya. Why did that happen?
In 2018, an independent UN fact-finding mission found that Myanmar’s military carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Rohingya Muslims with “genocidal intent.”
Nurul Amin, the founder of Rohingya Girls School, expressed that “we have been subjected to genocide.” He further mentioned that he has been offering informal lessons to more than 100 girls in Cox’s Bazar.
Amin is in favor of the ICC continuing its investigation, but she is uncertain about the potential impact it might have on the Rohingya.
If the International Criminal Court (ICC) declares that the violence in Myanmar is genocidal and committed by the authorities, what actions will they take? Is it possible for us to return to our homeland with our rights and dignity intact?