International Criminal Court begins inquiry into atrocities against Rohingya Muslims

The Hague: International criminal court (ICC) is going to launch a preliminary investigation into the deportations of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar into Bangladesh. The chief prosecutor of ICC Fatou Bensouda has announced this. She said she would 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”.

In a video released she said Myanmar’s military has been accused of widespread human 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. She began investigations two weeks after ICC judges gave her authorisation to investigate the deportations despite Myanmar not being a member state of the court. When national authorities are unable or unwilling to prosecute alleged crimes the ICC comes to the rescue of oppressed.

Meanwhile, UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar has made recommendations that the Myanmar military should be investigated and prosecuted in an international criminal tribunal for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.