International court gathering evidence in Rohingya case

DHAKA, BANGLADESH (AP) — Investigators from the International Criminal Court (ICC) have begun collecting evidence for a case involving alleged crimes against humanity by Myanmar against Rohingya causing them to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, a court official said on Tuesday.

Director of the Jurisdiction, Complementary and Cooperation Division of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor Phakiso Mochochoko said a team of investigators is visiting Rohingya refugee camps to collect evidence. He said justice will be delivered whether Myanmar cooperates or not.

Mochochoko told reporters in Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, that The Hague-based court will pursue the case even though Myanmar is not a party to the Rome Statute, the treaty that established it, and urged the nation to cooperate. Myanmar has denied committing crimes against humanity or genocide.

He said the court has a mandate to proceed with the case because Bangladesh is a party to the statute and the Rohingya crossed the border into that country.

He acknowledged that the investigation would be a long and difficult one without Myanmar’s participation.

“This is a challenge, we all agreed, it’s a challenge,” he said. “We have the experiences in the past, in some other situations where countries have refused to cooperate with us, they refused entry into their territory, but we have been able to investigate and prosecute the people.”

Director of the Jurisdiction, Complementary and Cooperation Division of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor Phakiso Mochochoko. PHOTO: AP