Myanmar rejects ICC probe over Rohingyas

FILE PHOTO: The International Criminal Court building is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, Jan 16, 2019. REUTERS

FILE PHOTO: The International Criminal Court building is seen in The Hague, Netherlands, Jan 16, 2019. REUTERS

Myanmar has rejected an International Criminal Court investigation into alleged war crimes against the Rohingyas amid mounting legal pressure from the international community over its treatment of the minority group.

The Hague-based court, on Thursday, approved a full probe into Myanmar's bloody 2017 military crackdown against the minority ethnic group, reports Qatari news channel Al Jazeera.

"The investigation over Myanmar by the ICC is not in accordance with international law," government spokesman Zaw Htay said at a news conference on Friday.

Htay reiterated that Myanmar's own committees would investigate for any abuses and ensure accountability if needed.

Bangladesh is currently hosting more than 1 million Rohingyas. Over 700,000 Rohingyas sought shelter in Cox's Bazar following August 2017 military crackdown in the Rakhine State that 'was termed 'ethnic cleansing' by the UN.

Despite attempts to repatriate the refugees, no-one returned to their homeland citing Myanmar's failure to create conditions conducive to their “voluntary, safe and dignified” return.

Myanmar has repeatedly defended the crackdown as necessary to stamp out fighters and has long refused to recognize the authority of the ICC.

Even though the country has not signed up to the court, the ICC ruled last year it has jurisdiction over crimes against the Rohingya because Bangladesh, where they are now refugees, is a member.

"Myanmar and the government are neither in denial nor closing our eyes," Htay said.

The ICC decision came after West African nation The Gambia on Monday filed a separate case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), the UN's top court, accusing Myanmar of genocide. The first hearings are scheduled for December.

Meanwhile, Aung San Suu Kyi was among several top Myanmar officials named in a case filed in Argentina on Wednesday for crimes against Rohingya -- the first time the Nobel peace laureate has been targeted in a legal action over the issue.


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