Muslim Times(Web Desk) – Hundreds of Rohingya victims have appealed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to grant prosecutors jurisdiction to probe deportation of Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine state to neighboring Bangladesh.
ICC spokesman, Fadi el-Abdallah, said on Thursday that a submission on behalf of 400 victims was handed to the court on Wednesday.
The document, signed with fingerprints of the victims, backs the earlier request from the ICC prosecutor for jurisdiction.
Families, in a letter on Wednesday, asked the world’s first permanent war crimes tribunal to examine allegations not only of deportation but persecution and genocide by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya minority.
“We are of Rohingya identity and we want justice,” the group said in the letter, demanding that the court take action. “We have been raped, tortured and killed.”
This comes as a group of lawyers working on behalf of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh is pushing for Myanmar’s military to be referred to the ICC for widespread violence against Muslims.
The Hague-based court does not have automatic jurisdiction in Myanmar because it is not a member state.
But the prosecutor in April asked the court to look into the Rohingya crisis and a possible prosecution through Bangladesh, which is a member.
In her request to judges, ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda argued that the ICC had jurisdiction over the deportations because of the cross-border nature of the offence.
Human rights groups have already urged the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the ICC for crimes against humanity.
Members of the Rohingya Muslim community have been killed, arbitrarily arrested, and raped by Myanmar’s forces and extremist Buddhists, who have also burned and destroyed Rohingya villages in mass arson attacks.
More than 700,000 members of the minority Muslim group have fled the state-sponsored violence to southeast Bangladesh over the past months.
The UN has described the campaign as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing, saying it possibly amounts to genocide as well.
For years, Myanmar’s government has refused to allow UN investigators to enter Rakhine.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner and Myanmar’s de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi is under pressure by the international community to use her position to prevent crimes against the Rohingya.