Dhaka, May 8 (UNB) - The International Criminal Court (ICC) has wanted to know Bangladesh’s opinion on whether The Hague-based court has jurisdiction to run a case on atrocities against Rohingyas.
The pre-trial chamber of the ICC has sent a letter in this regard on Monday and sought Bangladesh’s opinion by June 11 either publicly or confidentially.
“The Chamber hereby invites the competent authorities of Bangladesh to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on the prosecutor’s request no later than 11 June,” reads the letter, a copy of which obtained by UNB.
The Chamber invited the competent authorities of Bangladesh to submit written observations, either publicly or confidentially, on the three specific matters.
These are (i) the circumstances surrounding the presence of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar on the territory of Bangladesh; (ii) the possibility of the Court’s exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh; and (iii) any other matter in connection with the prosecutor’s request that, in the opinion of the competent authorities of Bangladesh, would assist the Chamber in its determination of this request.
The Chamber ordered the registrar to notify this decision to the competent authorities of Bangladesh together with a copy of the prosecutor’s request.
A senior official at the Foreign Ministry said the government received the letter and is considering the matter.
Reading the content of the letter, the official said, Bangladesh has been affected due to influx from Myanmar and the chamber thinks is it right to seek opinion from Bangladesh.
On April 9, the prosecutor submitted her request in pursuant to regulation 46(3) of the regulations of the Court and article 19(3) of the Rome Statute.
On April 11, the President of the Pre-Trial Division assigned the prosecutor’s request to the Chamber.
In the request, the prosecutor seeks a ruling from the Chamber on the question whether the Court may exercise jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of more than 670,000 members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh.
The specific legal matter arising from this request is whether the Court may exercise territorial jurisdiction over alleged acts of deportation of persons from the territory of Myanmar (a State not party to the Statute) into the territory of Bangladesh (a State party to the Statute.
Rule 103(1) of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence provides that any stage of the proceedings, a Chamber may, if it considers it desirable for the proper determination of the case, invite or grant leave to a State, organization or person to submit, in writing or orally, any observation on any issue that the Chamber deems appropriate.”
Bangladesh has been particularly affected by the events concerning the deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar.
Accordingly, the Chamber considers it appropriate to seek observations from the competent authorities of Bangladesh on the prosecutor’s request.
Such observations would, in these particular circumstances, assist the Chamber in its determination of the Request sub judice.
Bangladesh currently has a Rohingya population, which is far more than Bhutan’s entire population.
Bhutan has around 800,000 people whereas Bangladesh had to give shelter to some 1.2 million Rohingyas.
Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a repatriation agreement on November 23, 2017. On January 16, Bangladesh and Myanmar signed a document on 'Physical Arrangement' which will facilitate the return of Rohingyas to their homeland from Bangladesh.
The 'Physical Arrangement' stipulates that the repatriation will be completed preferably within two years from the start of repatriation but the repatriation on the ground is yet to take place.