State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam on Monday indicated that Myanmar’s top 20 individuals, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, might face legal music and even arrest on foreign lands if the verdicts from two international courts –ICC and ICJ - demand so.
“This kind of incidents happened in the world,” he said apparently explaining why and how the Myanmar is not out of the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court (ICC) and International Court of Justice (ICJ) though it is not a party to the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the ICC.
Shahriar said though Myanmar is not a signatory to the Rome Statute, other countries which are parties to the ICC and ICJ have a responsibility to follow the verdicts that will come from these two top courts on Rohingya issue.
“If the verdicts name top 20 individuals of Myanmar – Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s senior general or ministers, if they visit countries like the UK and Japan and if verdicts say they’ve to be arrested, it’ll be their (foreign countries) responsibility to arrest them. This kind of incident happened in the world,” said the State Minister explaining the possible consequences.
Considering these aspects, he said, it is clearly understood where Myanmar’s position will ultimately land internationally.
That is why, Shahriar said, Myanmar in other words, is not out of the jurisdiction of the ICC and ICJ, no matter who says what.
Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. File photo/AP
The State Minister was addressing as the chief guest a roundtable discussion titled ‘Necessity of Rohingya Repatriation in the Context of Regional and Global Situation’ held at the Jatiya Press Club.
The Institute of Conflict, Law and Development Studies (ICLDS) and the daily Bhorer Kagoj jointly arranged the event with ICLDS Chairman and former Ambassador Muhammad Zamir in the chair. Bhorer Kagaj Editor Shyamal Dutta moderated the discussion.
Brigadier General (retd) M Sakhawat Hossain, former Ambassador Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, former SC judge Justice AHM Shamsuddin Choudhury Manik, senior secretary at Disaster management and Relief Secretary Md Shah Kamal and Ukhiya Upazila chairman, among others, spoke at the event.
The State Minister said one thing is clear that the member countries of the ICC and ICJ who are still supporting Myanmar and will support it in the coming days will be under pressure afresh through the beginning of the processes at the ICC and ICJ on legal front against Myanmar.
“And this (progress on legal front), I think, will help Bangladesh find a solution to the Rohingya crisis in the coming days,” Shahriar said.
On November 14, pre-trial Chamber III of the International Criminal Court has authorised the Prosecutor to proceed with an investigation for the alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar.
ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said her investigation will seek to uncover the truth. “My Office will now focus on ensuring the success of its independent and impartial investigation."
Meanwhile, Suu Kyi is among several top Myanmar officials named in a case filed in Argentina for crimes against Rohingya Muslims and it shows the Nobel Laureate, for the first time, has been legally targeted over the crisis.
On November 11, Gambia filed a case at the United Nations’ highest court, accusing Myanmar of “genocide” in its campaign against its Rohingya Muslim minority.
Gambia, which filed the case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), asked the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to urgently order measures “to stop Myanmar’s genocidal conduct immediately.”
On India and Japan’s more active role, Shahriar said the two countries over the last few of weeks directly conveyed Myanmar to resolve the Rohingya issue what they had never seen over the last two years.
Prime Minister Modi, during his meeting with Suu Kyi on the sidelines of the ASEAN-India Summit in Bangkok, conveyed the importance of speedy, safe, and sustainable” return of Rohingyas to their homes in Rakhine in the interest of people, and regions of the three countries -- India, Bangladesh, and Myanmar.
Recently, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe also had a meeting with State Counsellor Suu Kyi and urged Myanmar authorities to create an environment “conducive” to the repatriation of Rohingyas to their place of origin.
“I entirely leave it to you whether you’ll see these development as a significant achievement or not,” said the State Minister referring to some criticisms over not getting China, India and Japan fully beside Bangladesh.
Referring to bilateral engagement with Myanmar, the State Minister said the government wants to remain bilaterally engaged and mentioned that Bangladesh will remain a “responsible and responsive” nation as an active UN member.
He hoped that all will realise the ground reality of the sensitive issue that might hamper Bangladesh’s growth, security and progress, and keep faith on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s decision.
The State Minister also hoped that the civil society, think thanks and experts will play a stronger role to help find a solution to the crisis.
“Government’s eyes and ears remain open and we’re aware of the risks,” he said adding that there is no overnight solution to such a crisis.
Bangladesh is 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 was 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 here said.
Bangladesh has so far handed over names of over 1 lakh Rohingyas to the Myanmar authorities for verification and subsequently expediting their repatriation efforts but Myanmar is yet to take back its nationals from Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.