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ICC chief prosecutor seeks to speed-up probe into crimes against Rohingyas

Dhaka, Jul 7 (EFE).- The chief prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Karim Asad Ahmad Khan, on Friday stressed the need to accelerate the Rohingya case, four years after an investigation was launched by the judicial body into the possible attempted genocide and crimes against the ethnic minority in Myanmar.

“The case is complex, but I think we have to do better,” Khan said at a press conference in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka, a day after visiting the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, situated in the country’s southeast.

The probe, authorized by the ICC in 2019, is looking into two rounds of violent campaigns by the Myanmar military in 2016 and 2017, during which thousands of civilians of the community were killed and more than 800,000 Rohingyas fled to Bangladesh.

“I think that while we are enlarging and collecting (evidence), and thinking, people are in terrible conditions and other incidents are taking place in Myanmar,” said the prosecutor, on the last day of a four-day visit to Bangladesh to collect testimonies as part of the ICC investigation.

Although Myanmar is not a party to the Rome Statute and therefore the court does not have jurisdiction over the country, its judges authorized the investigation over suspicions that at least part of the crimes were committed in Bangladesh, which is part of the Statute that established the international body, based at The Hague.

“Every situation is different,” Khan said, while comparing the investigation to the case related to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where sufficient evidence was presented last year for the judges to issue warrants.

“I have access to Ukraine, but I don’t have access to Myanmar,” the prosecutor underlined.

In order to make progress, “we have to get the truth about who is responsible for the many crimes obviously being committed,” he added.

Khan led an ICC delegation to Bangladesh which separately talked with several Rohingya victims and witnesses as part of the probe.

Moreover, he also met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and foreign affairs minister AK Abdul Momen, apart from other officials.

The ICC had in January 2020 ordered Myanmar to stop the possible genocide of Rohingyas and approved a series of emergency measures sought by Gambia in the complaint it had lodged in 2019 in this regard, backed by the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, formed by 57 countries.

Myanmar does not use the term Rohingya and does not acknowledge members of the community as citizens, labeling them as illegal immigrants. EFE


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