Amnesty hails ICC ruling over right to probe Rohingya exodus

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London, Sep 7 (IANS) A ruling by the International Criminal Court (ICC) establishing its jurisdiction to investigate the mass exodus of Rohingyas from Myanmar would pave the way for bringing justice to the minority Muslim community, Amnesty International (AI) said on Friday.

ICC on Thursday ruled it had jurisdiction to probe the forced exodus as the Rohingyas fled to and were currently being hosted by Bangladesh, which was a state party to the Rome Statute that established the ICC.

“This decision is a significant step in the right direction which opens up a clear avenue of justice for the Rohingya,” Biraj Patnaik, AI South Asia Director was quoted as saying by Efe news.

“The Court has sent a clear signal to the Myanmar military that they will be held accountable,” he added.

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In April, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court had requested a ruling to probe if the ICC could investigate the alleged deportation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas, fleeing state persecution as Myanmar was not a state party to the Statute, the international treaty that established the ICC.

The human rights non-profit also said that forced deportation was one of many other crimes against the Rohingyas and it “documented extensively how the military’s crackdown also included murder, rape, torture, forced starvation, the targeted burning of Rohingya villages and the use of landmines”.

AI also urged the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar’s case to the ICC so that it can investigate all crimes against humanity, including those against other ethnic minorities in Kachin and Shan states in north and northeast Myanmar.

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“While we welcome the ICC’s decision, the international community must see it as a spur to further action,” Patnaik added.

Myanmar does not recognize the Rohingyas as citizens and subjects them to various kinds of discrimination, including restrictions on their freedom of movement.

More than 700,000 Rohingyas fled to neighbouring Bangladesh following a crackdown by the Myanmar Army in August 2017 in response to a series of attacks on government posts by Rohingya rebels.

–IANS

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