Honorable Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad
Pejabat Perdana Menteri Malaysia,
Blok Utama, Bangunan Perdana Putra,
Pusat Pentadbiran Kerajaan Persekutuan,
62502 Putrajaya, MALAYSIA.
Tel : 603-8888 8000
Faks : 603-8888 3444
REQUEST SUPPORT TO REFER THE MYANMAR GOVERNMENT TO THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT (ICC)
The European Rohingya Council (ERC) would like to request support from Malaysia to urge the United Nations Security Council to refer the current situation in Myanmar including the widespread and systematic abuses against ethnic Rohingya immediately to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
ICC has required the Bangladesh, whom are a party to the ICC, to weigh in as the court considers a request by the ICC prosecutor to proof whether they have jurisdiction over the alleged deportations of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar to Bangladesh.
ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda asked the court last month to rule on whether it had jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya last year.
According to a letter issued in May to the Bangladesh government, the ICC inferred that the country had been “affected by the events concerning the alleged deportation of Rohingya people from Myanmar”, and that it was appropriate to seek its observations on the matter.
It also sought Dhaka’s views on the court’s “exercise of territorial jurisdiction over the alleged deportation of members of the Rohingya people from Myanmar into Bangladesh”.
Under the Rome Statute of the ICC, the court could only act when a state is “unwilling or unable” to investigate or prosecute grave crimes in violation of the international law. Because Myanmar is neither a party to the ICC nor has accepted the court’s jurisdiction, the Security Council needs to refer the situation to the court.
During the first week of May 2018, senior diplomats from the 15-member Security Council visited refugee camps in Bangladesh to gather first-hand information on the situation of more than 700,000 Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar military abuses since August 2017, adding to an estimated 200,000 Rohingya refugees who fled previous violence. The diplomats pledged to take action upon their return to New York. Until today, no significant action has been taken by them.
Myanmar government has long been alleged by the Human Rights Watch and other international monitors to have committed crimes against humanity. However they have not taken any genuine action to impartially investigate the full range of the abuses allegedly committed against the Rohingya. For more than a year the government refused to allow access to the UN Fact-Finding Mission, created by the Human Rights Council (HRC) to “establish the facts and circumstances” of alleged security force violations. It also barred Yanghee Lee, the UN-appointed human rights expert on Myanmar, from entering the country after she publicly reported on military abuses.
Rejecting detailed accounts of atrocities
The government and military have dismissed voluminous reports from the UN, human rights groups, and the media on mass killings, rape, tortures, burnings of Rohingya villages in northern Rakhine State. In November, an army “investigation team” had said that at least 376 “terrorists” were killed during fighting but reported “no casualty of civilian or innocent people”
While there has been no civilian-led investigation into the post-August 2017 violence, the National Investigation Commission on Rakhine State, has established to investigate the violence against the Rohingya in October and November 2016, and while headed by Vice President Myint Swe, concluded contrary and contradictory reports and evidence by stating that there was “no possibility of crimes against humanity, no evidence of ethnic cleansing, as per UN accusations.”
It has been reported that the Myanmar authorities had only convicted soldiers on a single case in Rakhine State for abuses committed after August 25, sentencing seven soldiers in April to 10 years in prison for their role in the massacre of 10 Rohingya in Inn Din village. Two Reuters journalists who investigated the massacre were detained and face up to 14 years’ imprisonment under the Official Secrets Act.
Action towards Myanmar
Up till today, Bangladesh has not responded to the request of International Criminal Court to provide it with observations and evidences to determine if the court has jurisdiction over Myanmar to open an investigation into the expulsion of minority Rohingyas from the country which is due on June 11, 2018.
Pressure mounted on Bangladesh by China and Japan for Bangladesh to resolve the Rohingya crisis through bilateral negotiations. However, in the past, any bilateral negotiation with Myanmar has been proven futile.
All UN Security Council resolutions pertaining the Rohingya has been vetoed by Russia and China effectively.
We urge Tun Dr Mahathir, being an avid supporter towards the Rohingya crisis, and hope that Tun could play a significant role in addressing this matter to Bangladesh and the international community in order to take the necessary steps and significant action to end this breach of crime against humanity and the mass genocide of the Rohingya by Myanmar.
In addition, we would like to urge the Government of Malaysia to put more pressure on Myanmar.
- International humanitarian organisations must immediately be granted independent and unfettered access, including for international staff, to alleviate massive humanitarian needs in Rakhine State, Myanmar.
- The Myanmar government should allow human rights monitors and independent journalists prompt and unfettered access to northern Rakhine State to investigate alleged widespread property destruction and other rights abuses against ethnic Rohingya.
- The Myanmar Government to stop forcing the National Verification Card on the Rohingya and going through a process of citizenship like the foreigners do when the Rohingya were once citizens of Burma.
- The government of Myanmar should immediately and unconditionally facilitate the voluntary and dignified return of all Rohingya who fled and survived genocide and provide reparations for lost property and livelihoods in accordance with international law and standards.
- The Burmese government should accept the United Nations call to amend the discriminatory law that deprives Rohingya Muslims of Burmese citizenship and which has encouraged systematic rights violations.
We thank you for your immediate attention in this matter.
This letter is endorsed by the following individuals and organizations :
Dr Habib Siddiqui, Human Right Activist, US
Humanitarian Care Malaysia(MyCARE)
Burmese Rohingya Association, UAE
Canadian Rohingya Development Initiative (CRDI)
Majlis Perundingan Petubuhan Islam Malaysia (MAPIM)
Rohingya Human Rights Network Canada (RHRNC)
Halaqah Kemajuan Muslim Sarawak (HIKAM)
ABOUT THE EUROPEAN ROHINGYA COUNCIL
About ERC The European Rohingya Council (ERC) is a European umbrella organization registered (KvK- 56454791) and based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. We research and document the state persecution of Rohingya in Myanmar; lobby European governments so that the EU stands for rights of Rohingya; and organize awareness campaigns such as conferences, protests, etc. Most importantly, we also facilitate higher education of Rohingya students. We are independent non-profit and non-government organization, and our ultimate goal is to restore the lost-rights of Rohingya in Myanmar.
Tengku Emma Zuriana bt Tengku Azmi
Ambassador To Malaysia,
Tel : +60124131809
Email : email@example.com
Dr. Hla Kyaw
ERC Chairman, ERC
Tel : +31 652 358 202
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org