Dhaka, Bangladesh
ICC moves against Rohingya repression

ICC moves against Rohingya repression

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle
Bachelet has said the decision by the Pre-Trial
Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
offers real hope for accountability for the crimes
committed against Rohingyas in Myanmar. Although the
decision doesn’t specifically address the crime of
genocide, it offers real hope for accountability for
the crimes committed. The UN High Commissioner was
addressing the 39th session of the Human Rights
Council in Geneva on Thursday ( 13th September) .
Bachelet welcomed last week’s decision by the Pre-
Trial Chamber of the ICC, which found that the Court
has jurisdiction over the deportation from Myanmar of
Rohingya, and possibly other crimes. While
commemorating of the 70th anniversary of the
Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the
Crime of Genocide, support for the Court is
indispensable for both justice and deterrence. All
States should support the Court, and in this, year
we commemorate the 20th anniversary of its founding
with the Rome Statute.
Genocide is always shocking but it is never committed
without clear, multiple warning signs: a pattern of
abuse against a group, intent to harm, a chain of
command and finally a brutal and horrifying outcome.
In the case of the Rohingya, warning signs abounded:
a people oppressed from birth to death, an army
answerable to no one, and systematic, state-led human
rights violations that went unpunished for decades,
including arbitrary deprivation of nationality.
States have the primary responsibility for
prosecuting perpetrators, but the Court’s use is
wholly appropriate in cases where the State is
unwilling or unable to deliver justice. She said the
Council’s Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar issued its
shocking report on the military-led campaign of
murder, rape and assault against the Rohingya people
of Rakhine State. A conservative estimate of 10,000
dead, countless more bereaved, maimed, raped and
traumatised, and nearly three-quarters of a million
people forced to flee to Bangladesh, and these
figures leave us in no doubt that the genocide
convention matters as much today as it did on
December 9, 1948, the day it became the very first
human rights treaty to be adopted by the General
Assembly - followed the next day by the adoption of
the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Prevention and punishment - the explicitly stated
twin aims of the genocide convention - can never be
seen in isolation from each other. Punishment is key
to prevention. Impunity is an enabler of genocide:
accountability is its nemesis. transitional justice
processes help to prevent violations of human rights
and international humanitarian law, and in particular
genocide, war crimes and ethnic cleansing. They
deliver truth, justice and reparations - and are
therefore a vital tool in breaking the cycles of
impunity, discrimination and marginalisation and the
risk of recurrence.

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