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Shahriar Alam: Myanmar not out of ICJ, ICC jurisdiction

  • Published at 10:32 am November 18th, 2019
File Photo: Distressed rohngya women and children at a camp in Cox Bazar Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

More than 700,000 mainly-Muslim Rohingyas were forced to flee to Bangladesh after Myanmar launched an attack 

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam said the Myanmar government is not out of the jurisdiction of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), and International Criminal Court (ICC).

“The international community is building pressure on Myanmar. I want to assure you that Myanmar is not out of the jurisdiction of ICC and ICJ,” State Minister Alam said on Monday.

He was speaking as the chief guest at a roundtable conference on Rohingya repatriation, jointly arranged by the Institute of Conflict, Law & Development Studies (ICLDS), and “Bhorer Kagoj” newspaper at the National Press Club in Dhaka.

Although the government of Bangladesh is determined to find a bilateral solution to the Rohingya crisis, it is also hoping that the outcome, following the legal proceedings in the international courts, would create enormous pressure on Myanmar for durable and safe repatriation of Rohingya refugees. 

Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at UN court

Recently, some three cases have been lodged with the International Criminal Court (ICC), including a 46-page application that has been submitted to the international court of justice (ICJ) by Gambia, alleging Myanmar has carried out mass murder, rape, and destruction of communities in Rakhine state.

Myanmar faces accusations of genocide at the UN’s highest court over its treatment of Rohingya Muslims.

While the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) has approved a full investigation on November 15 into Myanmar's alleged crimes against the Rohingya, human rights groups filed a criminal case in Argentina on November 13. 

Meanwhile, the government of Myanmar has expressed its displeasure over the ICC probe -- alleging that the international move has tarnished the country's reputation.

Speakers at a roundtable, titled 'Necessity of Rohingya Repatriation Considering Regional and Global Situation' at the National Press Club on Monday, November 18, 2019 | Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

State Minister Shahriar Alam said that, obviously, one cannot think of every possible ramification of the Rohingya refugee crisis, however, the government of Bangladesh is doing all it can, and there has been measurable progress and the results are positive on the back of our sustained diplomatic overture. 

He reiterated that any element of complacency on the part of the government in persuading the global community in favor of the Rohingya people would be disastrous. 

Sustaining momentum over the Issue

Maintaining the issue alive in the global community has been a major challenge for the government, the junior minister said, during the first year when the crisis was unfolding in 2017, the government officials could not nearly forecast how long this protracted crisis would continue. 

However, he stressed that because of sustained diplomatic effort, the international community has voiced its concern over the rights of Rohingya people. 

Noted speakers participating in the discussion event, however, expressed their apprehension over the legal matters including ICC and ICJ and a measurable outcome in the foreseeable future.

They also alleged that Bangladesh has failed to convince China over the Rohingya crisis, moreover, China is providing continuous support to Myanmar. India is also not offering support to Bangladesh in finding a solution to the Rohingya crisis.

The first hearing is scheduled to be held on December 10 and 11. 

Rohingya Crisis: "A ticking time Bomb"  

Speakers have laid emphasis on continuing to put pressure on Myanmar to take back the Rohingyas as what they describe, the "ticking time bomb [Rohingya]" could go off anytime badly affecting Bangladesh, and beyond.    

They also criticized the role of the bigger countries who remain vocal in the development issues of other countries. 

Moderator of the program, Daily Bhorer Kagoj Editor Shyamal Dutta rightly said that if any death took place in any garment factories, the global community becomes readily available to address the problem, and even threatens to stop GSP facilities for the country. 

However, as opposed to what has taken place in Myanmar, European Union or the USA did not impose any ban on GSP facilities against Myanmar, he concluded. 

Former diplomat Mohammad Zamir said the countries that continue to provide advice for establishing human rights and rule of law in many countries have remained tight-lipped over the Rohingya crisis.

Government officials, ex-diplomats, and media figures discussed different aspects of the Rohingya influx in Cox's Bazar and possible solutions to the crisis.

Bangladesh has been hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017, amid military crackdown on Rohingyas in Rakhine State.

Not a single Rohingya has been repatriated over the last two years due to Myanmar’s “failure” to build confidence among Rohingyas, and lack of conducive environment in Rakhine State, officials said.

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