Global Rights Compliance (‘GRC’) GRC represent 400 Rohyinga women and children from an organisation called Shanti Mohila.
GRC lodged their submissions to the International Criminal Court (‘ICC’) last Wednesday, following the ICC’s Prosecutor submission on the Rohingya atrocities. The ICC’s jurisdiction extends to war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide that have either been committed within the territory or by a national of a state that is a member to the Court. Myanmar is not a member of the ICC, which will mean that most of the crimes that were committed within Myanmar outside the Court’s jurisdiction. However, a number of crimes committed against the Rohingya may arguably fall within the jurisdiction of the Court, if it can be shown that their commission took place or continued into the territory of Bangladesh, which became a member to the Court in March 2010.
The Prosecution argue that the Court may exercise jurisdiction as the crime of deportation would have been committed, albeit partially, within the territory of a member state, namely Bangladesh. GRC, argue on behalf of their 400 clients – members of the Shanti Mohila (Peace Women) – deportation is not the only crime which is partially committed on the territory of Bangladesh against the Rohingya. In fact, three additional crimes that are within the jurisdiction of the Court are currently being committed by Myanmar authorities within Bangladesh: apartheid, genocide and persecution.
As stated by Wayne Jordash QC, the Managing Partner of GRC who represent the women, it is clear from the available information that the Rohingya have been subjected to the most horrific violence and abuse that is not limited to forced displacement and systematic destruction of their villages, homes, property and livelihoods but is replete with the most destructive of acts: “In a systematic manner, thousands of Rohingya men and boys have been separated from their families and killed. Having removed them, thousands more women and girls have been violently attacked and sexually violated in ways specifically designed to kill or leave them maimed and ultimately to destroy them and the wider group. The intentional infliction of these conditions extends the genocidal acts into the territory of Bangladesh”.
The decision of the ICC judges will have crucial implications for the Rohingya, who have no other legal recourse under the current circumstances. The Rohingya are seeking justice for the crimes they have suffered and continue to suffer due to ongoing acts by the Myanmar security forces. Will the Court live up to its mandate to put end to impunity for the most serious crimes of international concern and hear these demands for justice?
Catriona Murdoch consults with GRC based in The Hague, Netherlands whilst representing Jovica Stanišič in the re-trial before the UN Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals.