Skip to main content

World International Criminal Court opens preliminary investigation into Rohingya deportations

Chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, seen in a April 4, 2018 file image, is launching a preliminary investigation to establish if there is enough evidence to merit a full-blown investigation into deportations of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Bangladesh.

Peter Dejong/The Associated Press

The International Criminal Court’s chief prosecutor announced on Tuesday that she is launching a preliminary investigation into deportations of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Bangladesh.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said in a written statement and video message that she has begun a probe formally known as a preliminary examination to establish if there is enough evidence to merit a full-blown investigation.

Ms. Bensouda said she will look at reports of “a number of alleged coercive acts having resulted in the forced displacement of the Rohingya people, including deprivation of fundamental rights, killing, sexual violence, enforced disappearance, destruction and looting.”

Story continues below advertisement

Myanmar’s military has been accused of widespread rights violations, including rape, murder, torture and the burning of Rohingya villages – leading about 700,000 Rohingya to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh since August last year.

Ms. Bensouda’s announcement came less than two weeks after judges at the court gave her authorization to investigate the deportations despite Myanmar not being a member state of the court.

Judges said in their landmark ruling that because part of the alleged crime of deportation happened on the territory of Bangladesh – which is a member of the court – Ms. Bensouda has jurisdiction. Judges urged her to conclude her preliminary examination “within a reasonable time.”

The ICC is a court of last resort, which steps in only when national authorities are unable or unwilling to prosecute alleged crimes. Ms. Bensouda said prosecutors “will be engaging with the national authorities concerned with a view to discussing and assessing any relevant investigation and prosecution at the national level.”

Ms. Bensouda’s announcement came on the day that UN-backed investigators presented a report that painted a grim picture of crimes against Rohingya. Such reports will likely be closely studied in Ms. Bensouda’s probe.

The fact-finding team presented the report to the UN-supported Human Rights Council in Geneva.

It reiterated earlier findings that some top Myanmar military leaders should be prosecuted for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide against the Rohingya during a deadly crackdown that erupted in August, 2017, following militant attacks on security posts in Rakhine state.

Story continues below advertisement

Myanmar’s new ambassador in Geneva has lashed out at what he called a “one-sided” report.

Report an error
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter