Myanmar not beyond jurisdiction of ICC, ICJ: Govt Minister

Dhaka, Nov 18 – Myanmar is not out of the jurisdiction of the international courts and it has to comply with the verdicts of the courts on Rohingya issue, state minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam said on Monday.“Though Myanmar is not a signatory to the International Criminal Court and International Court of Justice, it has to comply with their verdicts over the Rohingya issue. If there is any verdict against the high officials of Myanmar including Aung San Suu Kyi, they have to face it,” he added.
The minister came up with the statement at a roundtable discussion on “The Necessity of Rohingya Repatriation in the context of Regional and Global Situation” jointly organised by the Institute of Conflict, Law and Development Studies (ICLDS) and ‘Bhorer Kagoj’ at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital.
Former ambassador Muhammad Zamir president over the discussion and Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta moderated it.
Myanmar has been accused of carrying out human rights abuses against the Rohingya population by its army which forced more than 7,00,000 Rohingyas to flee to Bangladesh in late August 2017.
On behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Gambia, a small, mainly Muslim West African nation, filed a case at the ICJ accusing Myanmar of genocide in its treatment of the Rohingyas.
The International Court of Justice based in The Hague has fixed the date for the hearings on December 11 and 12 while ICC seeks to convict individuals responsible for crimes.
Meanwhile, Myanmar’s government has rejected the ICC’s decision to allow prosecutors to open an investigation into crimes committed against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.
Shahriar Alam said, “The order of the ICC will create huge pressure on Myanmar to address the crisis. The order will also create pressure on other countries to resolve the crisis.”
The minister also noted that international leaders have become vocal about the Rohingya issue which is a significant advancement to pave the path for the resolution of the crisis.
“You might not expect Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi or Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to strongly condemn Myanmar government for its misdeeds in public but it has happened within the past few weeks,” he said.
“After the end of the first year of influx, we kept wondering if we’d be able to keep the Rohingya issue alive at the international level. Many states have a conflicting stance about the Rohingyas,” he said.
The Rohingya crisis has to be resolved but it would not take place overnight, he added.
Former Election Commissioner Brig Gen (retd) M Shakhawat Hossain said, “We don’t understand Myanmar. They are very hard in nature. We have to raise voice against the Rohingya crisis. For it, the Rohingyas have to be included. If the Rohingyas become vocal, it would be more powerful in the world than our voice.”
Retired Justice Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik said, “Gambia has lodged a case to bring Myanmar to accountable on Rohingya issue. A case has been filed by some human rights groups in Argentina against Suu Kyi. If we cannot bring China here, it would be difficult to resolve the crisis.”
Former foreign secretary Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury said, “ICC has allowed going with the investigation. Myanmar has rejected it. Russia and China are continuing their support for Myanmar. China can play a great role here to address the issue.”
Major (retd) Emdad said, “The protracted stay of Rohingya will create instability and terror activities in this region. The USA, China, and India are closely related to Myanmar for their own interests. Their cooperation is necessary here.”
Ukhia Upazila Chairman Hamidul Islam Chowdhury said, “The local economy and environment have been destroyed due to the Rohingya. It’s a big crisis which we did not see earlier.”—Staff Reporter