A delegation of the International Criminal Court (ICC) arrived in Bangladesh’s capital Dhaka on Tuesday on a weeklong visit to assess the Rohingya crisis and judicial process, local media reported.
The delegation is led by ICC’s Deputy Prosecutor James Kirkpatrick Stewart.
“Apart from holding meetings with the senior officials of the law and home ministries and representatives of international organizations, the ICC delegation members would also visit Rohingya camps to see the situation”, United News of Bangladesh quoted Bangladeshi officials as saying.
According to a statement by the office of ICC’s spokesman, the visit is in the context of office’s “ongoing activities pursuant to its mandate under the Rome Statute, concerning the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar.”
The statement added that the ICC prosecutor has already completed a thorough preliminary examination process over the allegation of crimes against humanity perpetrated by Myanmar army in Rakhine State against minority Rohingya Muslims.
“Following her thorough preliminary examination process, the ICC Prosecutor has recently requested the Court’s Judges to authorize an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity committed against the Rohingya people from Myanmar. The outcome of this request is still pending and is before the Court’s judges,” it added.
About the weeklong visit of the delegation, the statement said: “The delegation will not engage in any evidence collection in relation to any alleged crimes. The purpose of this visit, in general terms, is to engage with relevant stakeholders and explain the judicial process and the status of the situation.”
The Rohingya, described by the UN as the world’s most persecuted people, have faced heightened fears of attack since dozens were killed in communal violence in 2012.
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, extending 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.