Justice Within Reach? Crimes Against the Rohingya

14 Nov, 2019 | Comunicati Stampa

Rome, Brussels, 14 November 2019

On Monday, 11 November 2019, The Gambia filed an historic claim at the International Court of Justice alleging the commission of genocide by Myanmar against the Rohingya people, seeking urgent relief that Myanmar cease committing genocide and punish those responsible for it. Just a few days later, on 14 November 2019, the Pre-Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court has granted the ICC Prosecutor authorisation to open an investigation into the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar. In requesting authorisation to open an investigation, the ICC Prosecutor has alleged crimes against humanity, namely deportation, other inhumane acts and persecution committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar since 9 October 2016.

“This week has been tremendous in terms of moving towards accountability for the crimes committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar, which have spilled onto the territory of Bangladesh”, said Alison Smith, International Justice Director for No Peace Without Justice. “We hope that the Rohingya people can take some solace that finally someone has listened and heard their suffering – first, The Gambia in its ICJ filing and now, the ICC. It is still a long road to justice, but the first steps have now firmly been taken.”

On Monday, 11 November 2019, No Peace Without Justice and 9 other non-governmental organisations co-sponsored an event in The Hague to discuss the initiative of The Gambia in filing a case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice for violations of the 1949 Genocide Convention. At that meeting, following a question posed by co-sponsor Parliamentarians for Global Action, the Bangladeshi representative assured participants of the full cooperation of Bangladesh in the event an investigation of crimes against the Rohingya would be authorised at the ICC. “We look forward to Bangladesh upholding its promise to cooperate fully with the ICC and to their ratification of the Agreement on Privileges and Immunities, to concretise that promise”, Ms Smith continued.

In authorising the investigation, the ICC Pre-Trial Chamber referenced the views of victims, noting that significant numbers had shared their views with the Pre-Trial Chamber, as allowed by the Rome Statute establishing the Court. “It is extremely important that the voices of victims and the voices of all Rohingya are kept front and center in both tracks towards justice”, Ms Smith said. “We welcome the focus on victims both in The Gambia’s submission to the ICJ and in this decision by the ICC. We urge the International Criminal Court to ensure the Rohingya are kept fully engaged in this case by immediately developing and implementing proper outreach for this situation, to ensure the Rohingya people can be kept informed and can communicate their views back to the Court.”

Read also: ICC Judges authorize the Prosecutor to investigate crimes against the Rohingya, CICC, 19 November 2019

For further information, contact Alison Smith, Director Of International Justice Program, on asmith@npwj.org or Nicola Giovannini, Press & Public Affairs Coordinator, on ngiovannini@npwj.org org.