Judges at the International Criminal Court (ICC) on Thursday approved a prosecution request to investigate crimes against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority, the court said on Thursday.
“Upon review of the available information, the Chamber accepted that there exists a reasonable basis to believe widespread and/or systematic acts of violence may have been committed that could qualify as the crimes against humanity of deportation across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border,” the court said in a statement.
“This authorization follows the request submitted on 4 July 2019 by the Prosecutor to open an investigation into alleged crimes within the ICC’s jurisdiction committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar,” it added.
The statement noted that the court may exercise jurisdiction over crimes when part of the criminal conducts take place in a member state of the court.
Bangladesh is a member state of the ICC, while Myanmar, which is not a party to the Rome Statute, has been accused of committing widespread abuses against Rohingya.
According to Amnesty International, more than 750,000 Rohingya refugees, mostly women and children, have fled Myanmar and crossed into Bangladesh after Myanmar forces launched a crackdown on the minority Muslim community in August 2017, pushing the number of persecuted people in Bangladesh above 1.2 million.
Since Aug. 25, 2017, nearly 24,000 Rohingya Muslims have been killed by Myanmar’s state forces, according to a report by the Ontario International Development Agency (OIDA).
More than 34,000 Rohingya were also thrown into fires, while over 114,000 others were beaten, said the OIDA report, titled “Forced Migration of Rohingya: The Untold Experience.”
Some 18,000 Rohingya women and girls were raped by Myanmar’s army and police and over 115,000 Rohingya homes were burned down and 113,000 others vandalized, it added.
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