The International Criminal Court on Tuesday announced that it has launched a preliminary examination into the deportations of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh, The Guardian reported.
Fatou Bensouda, chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, said she had begun an inquiry to establish whether there was evidence to carry out a full investigation. She said the investigation would focus on the alleged coercive acts that led to the forced displacement of Rohingya Muslims, BBC reported. The court would also consider whether persecution or other inhumane acts contributed to the plight of the Rohingya refugees, she added.
Earlier this month, the International Criminal Court said it can exercise jurisdiction over allegations of Rohingya deportations from Myanmar to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity. Although Myanmar is not a part of the court, Bangladesh is, and this gives the court the right to adjudicate since the crimes were committed in Bangladeshi territory.
The court assigned Bensouda to take charge of the investigation and asked her to conclude it within reasonable time.
In August 2017, the Myanmar army started a brutal crackdown in Rakhine state, allegedly in response to attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on police posts and a military base. This led to more than seven lakh Rohingya fleeing to neighbouring Bangladesh.
A United Nations report published last month named Myanmar Army chief Senior-General Min Aung Hlaing and said he, along with five other generals, should be prosecuted for human rights abuses and genocide. It said the nature, scale, and organisation of the operations against the Rohingya Muslims “suggests a level of pre-planning and design” on the part of leadership consistent with the vision of Aung Hlaing.