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Myanmar disregards ICC’s ruling over Rohingya issue

Hague-based court ruled that it has jurisdiction to investigate crimes against Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine state

ANKARA  – Myanmar has disregarded the Netherlands-based International Criminal Court’s (ICC) ruling that the court has jurisdiction to investigate the crimes against Rohingya Muslims in the country’s northwestern Rakhine state.

“The Court has jurisdiction over the crime against humanity of deportation allegedly committed against members of the Rohingya people,” the Hague-based court said in a statement on Thursday.

“The reason is that an element of this crime — the crossing of a border — took place on the territory of a State party [Bangladesh],” it added.

This statement said it “may also exercise its jurisdiction with regard to any other crime set out in article 5 of the [ICC Rome] Statute, such as the crimes against humanity of persecution and/or other inhumane acts.”

However, Myanmar government expressed disregard for the ICC’s decision.

“Myanmar reiterates its position, that not being a party to the Rome Statute, it is under no obligation to respect the ruling of the court,” Myanmar’s Office of the President said in a press release on Friday.

“Myanmar reiterates that it has not deported any individuals in the areas of concern and in fact has worked hard in collaboration with Bangladesh to repatriate those displaced from their homes,” the press release claimed.

– Mass gang rapes and killings

The decision by the ICC came a week after the UN released a report documenting mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In its report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar called on Myanmar’s top military officials, including army commander-in-chief Senior Gen. Min Aung Hlaing, to be tried at the International Criminal Court for genocide committed against Rohingya Muslims.

Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).

In a recent report, Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience, the OIDA raised the estimated number of murdered Rohingya to 23,962 (± 881) from a Doctors Without Borders figure of 9,400.

More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, the OIDA report said, adding that 17,718 (±780) Rohingyawomen and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police. Over 115,000 Rohingya houses were also burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.

According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly children and women, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community.

The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.

The UN has documented mass gang rapes, killings — including of infants and young children — brutal beatings, and disappearances committed by Myanmar state forces. In a report, UN investigators said such violations may have constituted crimes against humanity.

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