The Parliament Secretariat has changed its statement on Speaker Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury’s speech at a symposium organised by the International Criminal Court in the Netherlands.
In the first statement citing Chaudhury’s speech, the secretariat said Bangladesh expects the ICC to issue a ruling against Myanmar on the forceful deportation of the Rohingyas.
The secretariat later dropped the quote in the amended statement.
The ICC organised the symposium in The Hague on Wednesday to mark the 20th anniversary of the Rome Statute.
Chaudhury, in her speech at the symposium, said, “The world has recently witnessed the heartbreaking devastation of a rich and rooted culture by Myanmar.”
The UN and its human rights agency have pledged to stand by Bangladesh, identifying the atrocities against Rohingyas as ethnic cleansing and genocide, the speaker noted.
“Now the international community’s continuous and effective role is needed for safe and permanent repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas,” she said.
Around 700,000 Rohingyas have fled the Rakhine State into Bangladesh since the Myanmar army launched an operation against insurgents on Aug 25 last year.Before the latest exodus started, Bangladesh was already shelter to around 400,000 refugees who fled decades of persecution in Myanmar.
The recently displaced Myanmar nationals recounted horrific details of the operation, including arson attacks, killings and rapes, but the Myanmar authorities have denied the allegations.
Bangladesh responded to the queries of the ICC over its jurisdiction to run a case against Myanmar, tied to the Rohingya issue, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said in June without giving any details.
The ICC also gave Myanmar a deadline of July 27 to respond to a prosecution request that its judges consider hearing a case on the alleged deportation of Rohingya minorities to Bangladesh.
“Considering that the crime of deportation is alleged to have commenced on the territory of Myanmar, the chamber deems it appropriate to seek observations from the competent authorities of Myanmar on the prosecutor’s request,” the ICC said.
The world’s first permanent war crimes court does not have automatic jurisdiction in Myanmar because it is not a member state.However, the prosecutor asked the court to look into the Rohingya crisis and a possible prosecution through Bangladesh, which is a member.
Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda has argued that, given the cross-border nature of the crime of deportation, a ruling in favour of ICC jurisdiction would be in line with established legal principles.
Though Myanmar is not a member of the ICC, Bangladesh already presented information related to the Rohingya crisis to the ICC’s Pre-Trial Chamber I, Speaker Chaudhury said.
“Bangladesh recognises the importance of the universal Rome Statute and is continuously supporting the court’s efforts to achieve its goals,” she said.
“Bangladesh is determined to build a world free from crime, injustice, and inequality. Bangladesh will travel along the others in the world to bring the criminals to book and ensure their exemplary punishment,” she added.