Sat, Aug 11, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Myanmar rebukes ICC on crisis

‘DANGEROUS PRECEDENT’:Aung San Suu Kyi’s office said the court’s actions could result in litigation against nations that did not sign its charter by ‘biased stakeholders’

AP, YANGON, Myanmar

Rohingya Muslims aboard a makeshift raft cross the Naf River from Myanmar near Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, on Nov. 12 last year.

Photo: AP

Myanmar on Thursday sharply rejected an attempt by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to consider the country’s culpability for activities that caused 700,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh for safety last year.

The office of Burmese State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi said in a statement posted online that the court in the Netherlands has no jurisdiction over Myanmar, because it is not a member state.

It also offered procedural reasons for why it would not respond formally to the court’s request for its views on the exodus of the Rohingya, saying that the question “is meritless and should be dismissed.”

The court did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Critics, including UN experts, have accused Myanmar’s military of committing atrocities against the Rohingya amounting to ethnic cleansing, or even genocide.

Aung San Suu Kyi’s government has said it was carrying out justifiable counterinsurgency operations in response to attacks on security forces by Rohingya militants in August last year.

The Myanmar Army, according to documentary evidence and survivor and eyewitness accounts compiled by human rights organizations, beat and killed civilians and organized rapes and the burning of thousands of homes belonging to Rohingya in Myanmar’s western Rakhine State.

The court in April solicited Myanmar’s views and later set a July 27 deadline for a response to the question of whether the court should have jurisdiction.

Myanmar accused the court of violating international legal norms by seeking to assert jurisdiction over the issue, despite Myanmar not being a party to the Rome Statute establishing the court.

“By allowing such a contrived procedure, the ICC may set a dangerous precedent whereby future populistic causes and complaints against non-state parties to the Rome Statute may be litigated at the urging of biased stakeholders and non-governmental organizations and even then, selectively based on the political current of the times,” the statement said.

The statement also referred to several proceedings carried out by the court that it called irregular or not allowed under its own rules, including alleged “lack of fairness and transparency.”

It also mentioned its agreements to have Rohingya repatriated from Bangladesh, although such action has yet to be implemented and the UN has criticized Myanmar for delays.

The Rohingya have long faced severe discrimination and were the target of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people — predominantly Rohingya — from their homes to refugee camps for the internally displaced, where most remained until last year’s violence.

The Burmese government has refused to recognize the Rohingya as a legitimate native ethnic minority. Most Rohingya are denied citizenship and other rights.

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