Myanmar says International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in Rohingya crisis

Image result for REUTERS/Mohammad Ponir Hossain/File Photo

Myanmar says International Criminal Court has no jurisdiction in Rohingya crisis

YANGON (Reuters) – Myanmar’s government said on Friday it “resolutely rejects” a ruling from the International Criminal Court (ICC) that said the body has jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya Muslims to Bangladesh as a possible crime against humanity.

A statement from the office of Myanmar’s President Win Myint dismissed Thursday’s ICC ruling as “the result of faulty procedure and is of dubious legal merit”.

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“Furthermore, allegations consisting of charged narratives of harrowing personal tragedies which have nothing to do with the legal arguments in question were permitted, thereby putting emotional pressure on the Court,” the statement said, referring to submissions requested by the court.

An exhausted Rohingya refugee fleeing violence in Myanmar cries for help from others crossing into Palang Khali, near Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh November 2, 2017. REUTERS/Hannah McKay/File Photo

The decision from the Hague-based court opened the way for its prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, to further examine whether there is sufficient evidence to file charges against any Myanmar officials, although she has not done so yet.

An independent U.N. fact-finding mission in August concluded that Myanmar’s military last year carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with “genocidal intent” and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for orchestrating the gravest crimes under law.

About 700,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown, according to U.N. agencies, and most are now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

Although Myanmar is not a member of the Hague-based court, Bangladesh is, and the cross-border nature of deportation was sufficient for jurisdiction, the ICC said in Thursday’s ruling.

Myanmar has denied allegations of atrocities made against its security forces by refugees, saying its military carried out justifiable actions against militants.

In Friday’s statement, the Southeast Asian nation repeated its position that, not being a party to the Rome Statute that set up the ICC, it was under no obligation to respect its rulings.

Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Alex Richardson

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