Membership Of Pre-Trial Chamber III Convened To Decide On The Situation In Bangladesh And Myanmar 1


Historically, the Republic of the Union of Myanmar -formerly Burma – was under military rule, but established a civilian-led government in 2015. The new government made people hopeful that marginalization based on ethnicity and discrimination against minorities would come to an end. Minority groups felt relatively safe and expected that the legacy of abuse in the country was over.

Unfortunately, the country fell into chaos in 2017 when “clearance operations” were initiated in Rakhine, which drove out a huge number of ethnic Rohingya into neighbouring Bangladesh. Rakhine is in the western region of the country, near Bangladesh, and is largely occupied by the Rohingya people, who are predominantly Muslim. The Rohingya have been denied the rights to a nationality, healthcare, education, and to move freely within the country.

The mass atrocious crimes were backed by Myanmar’s security forces. Discriminatory laws and policies have been passed against the Rohingya people. A 2018 report by the UN Human Rights Council-mandated Fact-Finding Mission (FFM) on Myanmar concluded that the military and some civilians have committed crimes against humanity and war crimes in Rakhine, Shan, and Kachin states, as well as acts of genocide in Rakhine state. The FFM concluded that the actions of the security forces towards the Rohingya people amount to five acts of genocide as defined in the Genocide Convention.

In its mandate to ensure that international crimes do not go unpunished, the International Criminal Court (ICC), through the Office of the Prosecutor, is seeking permission to open an investigation into the perpetrators of these atrocities. The Rome Statute requires the prosecutor to seek leave of the court before opening an investigation on a situation in any State. This requirement aims to curb the potential problem of having a rogue prosecutor.

The Office of the Prosecutor has received reports and communications of the alleged persecution and deportation of the Rohingya people. On 6 September 2018, following a request by the Office of the Prosecutor, the court ruled by majority decision that it has jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar. The deportation occurred from the territory of Myanmar (which is not party to the Statute) to Bangladesh (which is party to the Statute).

The constitution of Pre-Trial Chamber III by the Presidency of the International Criminal Court is only the beginning of the quest for justice for the Rohingya people. The judges will decide whether to authorize the prosecutor to open an investigation.

Leah Gitahi

Leah Gitahi is a recent graduate of the University of Nairobi where she studied law (LLB). Her main areas of interest are International Criminal Justice, International relations, Climate Change, Governance, and non-violent conflict resolution.
Leah Gitahi

About Leah Gitahi

Leah Gitahi is a recent graduate of the University of Nairobi where she studied law (LLB). Her main areas of interest are International Criminal Justice, International relations, Climate Change, Governance, and non-violent conflict resolution.

One thought on “Membership Of Pre-Trial Chamber III Convened To Decide On The Situation In Bangladesh And Myanmar

  • Min Khin Kyaw

    Myanmar should accept Rohingyas who are real Rohingyas who speak Rohingya language and living Rohingya lifestyle. The point is Rohingyas are not Bengalis. During colonial era, responsible Burmese leaders tried to prevent the influx of Bengalis brought in by the British. During Bangladesh independence war, more than a million Bengali refugees fled into Rakhine. The then government accepted them all. Millions were killed in the war. Clash between Hindu Bengali and Muslim Bengali went on. But that did not happen in Rakhine as both Muslim and Hindu Bengali refugees spread into parts of the then Burma. But a lot of muslim Bengalis who remained in Rakhine later formed mujahideen movement that killed the locals in thousands village after village. That ended by reaching an agreement to accept them as an ethnic of Rakhine – but that didn’t happen. The government failed to recognize them as an ethnic for some reasons. In 2017, the single largest atrocity was “300 Rohingyas kidnapped 100 Hindus, killed 92 of them on August .” Other than heresays and solicited testimonies, there are no evidences such as medical records to suggest the muslims were tortured….by the military. But I’ve seen images of the locals killed or seriously injured by these muslims. The actual victims never got attention to this day. Hindu Bengalis issued a statement not to call them Hindu Rohingyas: https://www.firstpost.com/world/dont-call-us-rohingya-myanmarese-hindu-refugees-in-bangladesh-detest-the-incorrect-labelling-4220141.html The fact is that 2017 case began by ARSA members attacking the police stations and killing the police.

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