International Law

Government rejects ICC Jurisdiction on Northern Rakhine Case

Date: 10 August 2018; Type: Legal News; Source: Myanmar Times

The government on Thursday said it would not engage with the International Criminal Court (ICC), emphasizing Myanmar is not a party to the Rome Statute that established the tribunal.

The ICC has asked Myanmar to reply to the prosecution request for the international court to issue a ruling on whether it has jurisdiction to try Myanmar on the charge of crimes against humanity over the so-called “mass deportations” of Muslims from northern Rakhine to Bangladesh.

More than 700,000 Rakhine Muslims fled to Bangladesh last year following the outbreak of violence in the area after the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) launched simultaneous attacks against government security outposts.

On June 21, the world court ordered Myanmar to reply to the prosecution request by July 27.

“Myanmar, as a non-State Party, is under no obligation to enter into litigation with the prosecutor at the ICC or even to accept notes verbale emanating from their registry,” according to a press statement issued by the office of State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.

It said the request of the prosecutor for the ICC to make a ruling was made in bad faith and “may be interpreted as an indirect attempt to acquire jurisdiction over Myanmar which is not a State Party to the Rome Statute.”

The five-page press statement enumerated several other issues, including what it called procedural framework irregularities in the prosecution’s request and  the “lack of fairness and transparency of the ICC proceedings.”

The statement also said that the government has already established an independent commission to investigate accusations of abuses in northern Rakhine, with two international members - including the chairperson, and two local members.

It described the prosecution’s request as “meritless and should be dismissed.”

Myanmar has been facing criticisms from the international community over alleged massive human rights abuses perpetrated by its security forces in the northern Rakhine.

Many in Myanmar consider the Muslims residents in northern Rakhine as illegal migrants from Bangladesh despite having stayed in the  place for generations.

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