ICC Prosecutor Karim AA Khan QC concludes first visit to Bangladesh and stresses commitment to advancing investigations into alleged Rohingya atrocities – Myanmar
On Sunday 27 February 2022, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (“ICC” or “the Court”), Mr. Karim AA Khan QC, concluded a five-day visit to Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. This was the Court’s first visit to Bangladesh.
During the visit, Prosecutor Khan emphasized that his office’s investigation into the crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court committed against the Rohingyas of Myanmar would be a priority during his tenure. He confirmed to all stakeholders that he had allocated additional resources to the investigation team and was seeking to expedite the collection and analysis of evidence, which had already been affected by the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Prosecutor Khan delivered this message directly to survivors and affected communities during his visit to Kutupalong refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, home to hundreds of thousands of Rohingya community members who fled violence in Myanmar. During encounters with Rohingya women and young activists, Prosecutor Khan explained how his office can enable them to contribute more to the investigation. During a meeting with Local imams and other religious leadersthe Prosecutor also discussed ways in which Rohingya leaders can help victims of sexual and gender-based violence to present their stories in the ongoing investigations of the Office.
“We are here to work with you to build the foundations of justice. The path to accountability will not be easy, but it is a goal we can only achieve by working together, as a partnership between us” , declared the prosecutor.
During the visit, Prosecutor Khan also held several productive meetings with Bangladesh government officials and spoke with the diplomatic corps and representatives of civil society organizations in Dhaka. Meetings were held with their Excellencies, the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina; Minister of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Mr. Anisul Huq; the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdul Momen; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Masud Bin Momenand the Secretary for Maritime Affairs, Rear Admiral (Retired) Khurshed Alam.
During his meeting with the Prime Minister, the Prosecutor acknowledged the crucial role that Bangladesh had played in offering refuge to the Rohingyas as they fled Myanmar in 2017. “This decision represented a moment of true empathy and courage. It also demonstrated the understanding among the Bangladeshi people of the impact of heinous crimes, based on their own lived experience. This courageous approach of solidarity continues to be reflected in the assistance provided by Bangladesh to our work for justice for the Rohingya community,” the Prosecutor said.
The Prosecutor expressed his sincere gratitude to the authorities of Bangladesh for facilitating his visit. He also expressed his gratitude to non-governmental organizations and United Nations partners who had supported his direct engagement with survivors and affected communities in Cox’s Bazar.
The Prosecutor held a press conference in Dhaka at the end of his mission to Bangladesh, answering questions from the local and international media present. During the press conference, the Prosecutor announced his intention to make additional visits to Bangladesh to support and advance the work of his Office in this investigation.
The Prosecutor had the following message at the end of his visit:
“I am deeply grateful for the generosity and support shown to me by the people of Bangladesh and the Rohingya community during this visit. As I told the survivors of Cox’s Bazar: we are here to serve you and help make I leave here confident that with my Office’s renewed focus on this investigation, combined with the strengthened partnerships we have developed with survivors and national actors, we can now enter a phase of accelerated action. I hope and hope that this will ultimately lead to those who can be responsible for the atrocities committed against the Rohingya community and be held accountable according to law.”
In November 2019, ICC judges granted former prosecutor Bensouda’s request to open a full investigation into alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of the ICC in the Bangladesh/Myanmar situation (read his statement following the authorization of the judges to continue an investigation by clicking on here).
The Prosecutor may investigate any crime within the jurisdiction of the ICC – and which was committed at least in part within the territory of Bangladesh (or any other State Party or State formally accepting the jurisdiction of the ICC), to the extent where the crimes are sufficiently related to the situation, and regardless of the nationality of the perpetrators. In this context, the investigation may relate to alleged crimes committed since 1 June 2010, the date of entry into force of the Rome Statute for Bangladesh (or since the date of entry into force of the Rome Statute for any other State Party concerned), and includes all future crimes, provided they are sufficiently related to the situation.
Source: Office of the Prosecutor | Contact: [email protected]