LAW: ICC Victim Submission for Rohingya clients following NUG Declaration
Wednesday, 25 August 2021
COX’S BAZAR, BANGLADESH: International human rights organisation, Legal Action Worldwide (LAW) will prepare and file a victim submission with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on behalf of its Rohingya clients following a declaration by the National Unity Government (NUG) of Myanmar accepting ICC jurisdiction for crimes committed in Myanmar since July 2002.
LAW’s announcement comes on 25 August 2021, Rohingya Genocide Remembrance Day, which marks four years since the beginning of 2017 ‘clearance operations,’ in which thousands of Rohingya were killed, tortured and subjected to brutal sexual violence by Myanmar’s military (Tatmadaw). More than 800,000 Rohingya were fled to neighbouring Bangladesh where they remain to date. The UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar described the ‘clearance operations’ as a “human rights catastrophe” and recommended senior Tatmadaw figures be investigated and prosecuted for international crimes, including genocide.
Antonia Mulvey, LAW’s Executive Director said: “LAW’s Rohingya clients wholeheartedly support all international efforts to end Tatmadaw impunity for decades of criminal conduct. Our clients were disappointed and frustrated to see Aung San Suu Kyi defend the Tatmadaw at the International Court of Justice case brought by The Gambia against Myanmar on the Genocide Convention in December 2019. They cautiously welcome recent efforts by the NUG to address past injustices, though call for greater engagement by NUG directly with the displaced Rohingya population.”
She continued: LAW’s clients request that the ICC recognise the NUG’s declaration and expand its existing investigation to include all international crimes perpetrated within Myanmar since 2002, including the crime of genocide.”
In November 2019, the ICC Office of the Prosecutor was authorised to initiate an investigation into crimes where part of the criminal conduct takes place on the territory of a State Party, enabling investigation of ‘continuing crimes’ such as the crime against humanity of forced deportation which began in Myanmar but continues in Bangladesh, a State Party of the Rome Statute. If accepted, the declaration, made under article 12(3) of the Rome Statute by the NUG (Myanmar’s civilian government in exile, following an unlawful military coup in February 2021), would permit investigation of any crime within the jurisdiction of the Court, since 1 July 2002.
LAW represents more than 500 Rohingya clients, including Rohingya women’s network Shanti Mohila (Peace Women) and a group of male survivors of sexual violence – three victim submissions have already been made to the ICC on behalf of LAW’s Rohingya clients. A majority were forcibly displaced from their homes during the 2017 ‘clearance operations.’ LAW works to ensure meaningful participation by its clients and the Rohingya community as a whole in international justice proceedings.
One of LAW’s Rohingya clients, Abdul (pseudonym), based in Teknaf, stated: “I’m very glad to hear that the NUG accepts the ICC jurisdiction. It is so important that the Rohingya survivors and communities get justice for what we experienced.”
You can read more about LAW’s work on the Rohingya crisis here.
For more information, please contact Kirsty Hare, Legal Advisor, at email@example.com