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ICC prosecutor opens preliminary probe into crimes against Rohingya


Berlin –   The International Criminal Court (ICC) has launched a preliminary investigation into Myanmar’s crackdown on Rohingya that triggered the minority group’s mass exodus to Bangladesh, the chief prosecutor said on Tuesday.

The examination will look at a range of allegations against Myanmar’s security forces, including the killing of Rohingya civilians, sexual violence, forced disappearance, destruction and looting.

Fatou Bensouda said in a written statement and video message that her preliminary probe is meant to determine if there is enough evidence to warrant a formal investigation.

Myanmar has repeatedly argued that the ICC does not have the jurisdiction to investigate the allegations because it is not a party to the Rome Statute, which established the ICC.

The ICC disagrees on the grounds that the case involves a border crossing from one state not adherent to the court, Myanmar, to one that does, Bangladesh.

More than 700,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya have fled their homes into Bangladesh since August 2017, bringing with them accounts of rape, arson and killings carried out by Myanmar security forces.

The UN said in August the human rights abuses by security forces could amount to genocide and urged the ICC’s prosecution of Myanmar.

Rohingya Muslims, an ethnic minority group in Buddhist-majority Myanmar, were stripped of citizenship in 1982 and have been long subject to persecution in Rakhine state, where most lived.

Labelled ‘Bengali’ by the government and much of the Myanmar population to infer that they are interlopers from Bangladesh, Rohingya is denied access to health care, education and freedom of movement.



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