Dhaka, July 18 (UNB) - The Office of the Prosecutor of International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday laid emphasis on “effective, timely and tangible” cooperation from all stakeholders as an authorization for an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya people is still pending.
“We hope to engage as quickly as possible,” Deputy Prosecutor James Stewart told reporters at a press conference in a city hotel.
He said they will work in strict conformity with the law if they are authorized to do an investigation. “We will do so independently, impartially and objectively; these are principles which guide all of our decisions and actions.”
ICC Prosecutor Dr Fatou Bensouda has recently requested the Court’s Judges to authorise an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar. The outcome of this request is still pending and is before the Court’s judges.
There is a “reasonable basis to believe” that at least 700,000 Rohingya people were deported from Myanmar to Bangladesh through a range of coercive acts.
Stewart, who is leading a delegation here, said once the judges of the court make a determination on the request of the Prosecutor, the Court according to its normal practice, will inform the public of that outcome.
“Confidentiality during any investigation is essential to protect its integrity, and to protect the security of all involved,” he said.
Asked about signing of MoU with Bangladesh, Stewart said this is a normal practice everywhere and a matter of discussion. “There is no negativity from the part of Bangladesh which is a State party to the ICC.”
The Deputy Prosecutor made it clear that Myanmar is not a State party to the ICC and any potential investigation could only focus on crimes allegedly committed in part on the territory of Bangladesh.
Asked about Myanmar’s engagement, he said they have approached the government of Myanmar but so far they have not agreed to engage with them (ICC).
The Deputy Prosecutor stressed that while trials are accessible to the public at the ICC, investigations are not.
He also said they do not and cannot participate in national political debates or considerations of relations between States.
“Our mandate is completely separate. As a prosecuting office, we aim to bring justice to victims wherever our jurisdiction is met, by establishing the truth of what happened and holding accountable those individuals most responsible for the crimes,” Stewart said.
He said investigating deportation and other alleged crimes would mean, of course taking a close look at the alleged violence which left the Rohingya people no option but to flee Myanmar.
The delegation from the Office of the Prosecutor arrived here on Tuesday on a weeklong visit to engage with relevant stakeholders and explain the judicial process and the status of the situation.
The delegation is not engaging in any evidence collection in relation to any alleged crimes at this stage.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda considers that there is a reasonable basis to proceed with an investigation in relation to the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh and related crimes committed in the context of the 2016 and 2017 waves of violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar.
The ICC delegation members already held meetings with Ministers and senior officials here. They are scheduled to leave for Cox’s Bazar on Friday afternoon.
They will visit Rohingya camps and hold a meeting with government authorities there on Saturday.
On Sunday, the ICC delegation members are scheduled to hold meetings with Cox’s Bazar DC, Refugee, Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) and regional heads of Rapid action Battalion (Rab), BGB and acting superintendent of police in Cox’s Bazar.
They are scheduled to leave Dhaka on Monday.
Dhaka, Jul 18 (UNB) – The High Court on Thursday turned down an appeal seeking cancellation of slain Rifat Sharif’s wife Ayesha Siddika Minni’s remand and said that HC would not interfere in this matter right now.
A bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahsan and Justice Kamrul Kader passed the order when Supreme Court lawyer Faruk Hossain brought a newspaper report titled- “Minni’s remand; no one beside her” to the court’s notice.
“Now Minni has been accused in the case, right now we don’t want to interfere in it. There is also a scope to file the appeal with the subordinate court,” the court said.
Minni’s husband Rifat Sharif, 22, was attacked with sharp weapons near the main gate of Barguna Government College. His wife Aysha Siddika Minni appeared to be trying to protect him during the attack in broad daylight caught on surveillance camera.
Police arrested Minni on Tuesday night after a daylong interrogation. A court granted police five days to interrogate her in custody.
Apart from Minni, 13 suspects have so far been arrested. Seven of them have reportedly confessed to their involvement in the murder.
Netrakona, July 18 (UNB) - A youth was beaten to death by a mob on Thursday after he was found ‘carrying a child’s severed head in a bag’ in the district town.
The deceased was identified as Robin, 22, son of Eklas Uddin of Katli area of Netrakona municipality and the child is Sajib Mia, 8, son of Rois Mia of the same area.
Quoting locals, officer-in-charge of Netrakona Model Police Station Tajul Islam and Inspector (Investigation) Nazmul Hasan said some people of the Harijan community noticed a head in his bag when the youth went to Harijan Palli to have liquor, and chased him.
The angry mob then beat him up mercilessly beside a pond in the New Town area of the municipality, leaving him dead on the spot, the OC added.
Police recovered the body of the youth and the severed head of the child.
Later, law enforcers recovered the child’s beheaded body from an under-construction building in the area around 4pm, Tajul said.
Superintendent of Netrakona Police Joydev Chowdhury said Sajib had been living with his parents at a rented house in South Katli for the last one month.
The victim’s mother said the boy went of their house in the morning to buy juice from a shop but he did not return home.
Dhaka, July 18 (UNB)- The High Court on Thursday issued seven directives, including the disposal of rape or murder cases within 180 days of filing those with Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunals.
The bench of Justice Enayetur Rahim and Justice MdMostafizurRahman issued the order during hearing on threecases filed under the Women and Children Repression Prevention Act2000.
The court ordered continuing the cases every working day without any break after the startof hearing in the cases according to section 20 of the Act.
It ordered formation of a monitoring committee with the Additional District Magistrate, Additional Superintendent of Police (Admin), a representative of Civil Surgeon, and related Public Prosecutor (PP) to ensure the presence and safety of witnesses of the cases.
The PP concerned will coordinate the committee and submit monthly report about its activities to the Supreme Court, Home Ministry and the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, the court said.
If there are multiple tribunals in a district, all the PPs will be included in the committee and the senior most one will coordinate the committee, it added. The monitoring committee will be accountable if the state side fails to ensure presence of the witnesses to the court on the scheduled date without any valid reason, it said.
The committee will monitor and take steps to ensure issuance of notices summoning witnesses at the possible quickest time.
The tribunal may recommend taking departmental action and stop the salary of the official witnesses --magistrate, police, doctors and other experts if they fail to appear before as witnesses without any satisfactory reason, it said.
The court thinks that it is a necessity to formulate a witness protection law and it expects the government will do it soon.
The HC bench came up with the directives while hearing bail petitions in three cases filed with the Women and Children Repression Prevention Tribunal.
Dhaka, July 18 (UNB) – The deputy commissioners (DCs) on Thursday were asked to ensure providing services to the people quickly and sternly deal with corruption.
After the first session of the fifth day of DCs conference at the secretariat, State Minister for Public Administration Md Farhad Hossain said a corruption-free and peoples welfare oriented society will be established to implement the ruling party’s election manifesto.
He said they discussed ways to speed up services and make operations smooth.
Referring to sufferings at district and upazila offices, he said measures must be taken quickly to resolve various problems at the AC Land Office. DCs will take steps to speed up the digitilisation process.
DCs will ask the officials involved in corruption and irregularities to correct themselves, otherwise there is provision for departmental action.
The Minister said the DCs have been instructed to digitalise the offices.
“Officials must be given massive training so that we can go for more digitilisation. The DCs should take steps to make the hospitals free of brokers, irregularities and corruption. They’ll have to increase surveillance to ease the sufferings of the people,” he said.
The Minister said the DCs have been asked to enhance monitoring to enhance the standard of education at the schools in which they are the governing body Chairman.
Replying to a query, he said the DCs gave various proposals including setting up of a separate bank for public administration officials.
“Some of the proposals are realistic. We’ve assured them of implementing their logical proposals,” he said.