Dhaka has finally sent information and observations to the International Criminal Court (ICC), including whether the court could have territorial jurisdiction regarding the displacement of the Rohingyas.
The ICC in a letter to Dhaka on May 7 invited “the competent authorities of Bangladesh to submit observations, either publicly or confidentially, to the prosecutor on three specific matters since Bangladesh has been affected by the deportation of Rohingya populations from Myanmar.”
The ICC requested information and observations on “(i) the circumstances surrounding the presence of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar on the territory of Bangladesh; (ii) the possibility of the Court's exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh; and (iii) any other matter in connection with the prosecutor's request that, in the opinion of the competent authorities of Bangladesh, would assist the chamber in its determination of this request.”
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam told The Daily Star yesterday, “Yes, we have responded to the request of ICC and provided all the information they asked for and everything that we know from our own experience.”
He, however, did not elaborated when Dhaka sent its observation but said Bangladesh being member of Rome Statute has responded to the request.
“It is in fact mandatory for Bangladesh to respond. Bangladesh has provided the information only as requested by the court,” the state minister added.
“The specific legal matter arising from this request is whether the court may exercise territorial jurisdiction over alleged acts of deportation of persons from the territory of Myanmar into the territory of Bangladesh,” the ICC pre-trial chamber letter reads. It asked Bangladesh to submit observations no later than June 11, 2018.
Shahriar said, “We are still committed to settle the matter bilaterally.” The submission of observations to the ICC would not affect our bilateral relations with Myanmar, he added.
He referred to the five-point proposal made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during the UN General Assembly in 2017, which “is still on the table and we are committed.”
On June 5, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at a press conference did not give any direct reply whether Bangladesh would respond to the request of the ICC.
“We'll work protecting the country's interests," he said, adding that Bangladesh was working for a sustainable and voluntary return of Myanmar's displaced people.