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June 4, 2018 salim rana

Bangladesh must submit information and documents it already has on ethnic cleansing and massacre of Rohingyas to International Criminal Court (ICC) by 11 June 2018 to bring Myanmar to justice, experts opined at a seminar on 4 June 2018.

The seminar, “Accountability: The International Criminal Court and the Rohingya Crisis”, was held at the Nabab Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate Bhaban, University of Dhaka.

It was jointly organised by the Centre for Peace & Justice (CPJ) of BRAC University (BRACU), ActionAid Bangladesh and the Centre for Genocide Studies (CGS) of the University of Dhaka.

The ICC can may exercise jurisdiction under article 12(2)(a) of the Rome Statute, the treaty under which the ICC was established, as Myanmar is directly involved in offenses like killings and rapes, said Kate Vigneswaran, a former prosecutor of Yugoslavia Tribunal.

Though Myanmar did not give the opportunity to collect evidence, it can still be dragged to justice, she said.

Justice Syed Refaat Ahmed of Bangladesh High Court said Bangladesh played a big role in upholding humanity and should send observations and important evidences to the ICC as a state party.

Philip M Ruddock, former member of the Australian parliament, said what happened in Myanmar in one word was genocide and there was sufficient evidence.

The United Nation’s Security Council and international community should come forward to deal with this issue.

He urged the USA, China, India and Russia to intervene and other influential counties to pressurise Myanmar, saying that the homeless people could go back to their homes if all tried collectively.

Manzoor Hasan OBE, executive director of the CPJ, said Bangladesh has set a great example of providing shelter to millions of refugees.

Though the UN recognised this ongoing torture on Rohingyas in Myanmar, other influential countries have not taken notable steps on this regard, he said.

Professor Imtiaz Ahmed, chairperson of the CGS, said legal steps were really necessary to address the Rohingya crisis and the ICC could play a vital role in pressurising Myanmar both politically and economically.

Farah Kabir, director of ActionAid Bangladesh, and other experts from different organisations were present at the seminar.