ICC files observations to hold Rohingya hearings away from The Hague
By Sumi Khan, MENAFN
Dhaka, Sep 26: The Registry of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has filed its observations on a joint request by the Rohingya genocide victims to hold the hearings in the case within reasonable proximity of the affected populations, instead of The Hague.
In its filing submitted on September 21, which is available on the ICC’s website, the Registry outlines five possible scenarios whereby all or some part of the hearings may be held in Bangladesh, and details the pros and cons of each.
The five possible scenarios comprise a judicial visit by a Chamber or an appointed Single Judge to a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar; testimony via a video-link with a witness based in Bangladesh; a Chamber or a Single Judge explains a decision on victims’ participation to the victims based in Bangladesh; holding a full confirmation of charges hearing in Bangladesh; and holding a decision on the confirmation of charges hearing in Bangladesh.
For each scenario, the Registry has provided information on the preparatory work required, the extent of its support, and the amount of time needed to hold the hearing.
It is non-committal in terms of leaning towards any one scenario over the other as its preference at this stage.
In conclusion, it is stated that the Registry “stands ready to accommodate any of the proposed scenarios even if the operational aspects – in terms of time and resources – for some of them may be more challenging than for others”.
It goes on to state that regardless of the scenarios, “the holding of proceedings… will be in any event subject to the agreement and cooperation of Bangladesh.”
Two Australian lawyers acting on behalf of hundreds of Rohingya refugees have been pushing to have the ICC sit in Asia for the first time.
On November 14, 2019, the ICC opened an investigation for alleged crimes against humanity, such as deportation, acts of persecution and other inhumane acts, committed against Myanmar’s Rohingya population on or after June 1, 2010.
In April 2018, the Prosecutor requested the ICC Judges to determine whether it could exercise its jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar (Non-State Party) to Bangladesh (State Party).