Global criminal court says it has jurisdiction over alleged deportations of Rohingya


But the argument that prevailed, made by court Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, was that while the Rohingya were forced from their homes in Myanmar, part of the crime involved them being driven across the border into neighboring Bangladesh, which is a member of the court.

Besouda was seeking a ruling to "verify that the Court has territorial jurisdiction when persons are deported from the territory of a State which is not a party to the Statute directly into the territory of a State which is a party to the Statute".

"We look forward to the recommendations of the preliminary examination concerning the crimes allegedly committed against the Rohingya people and hope for a full investigation and trial of those accountable for all alleged crimes under the jurisdiction of the ICC", Sundari said.

Unlike Burma, Bangladesh is a member of the ICC.

Myanmar was "under no obligation" to respect the ICC decision, it said, adding allegations of deportation "could not be further from the truth". On Thursday, the court agreed.

About 700,000 Rohingya fled the crackdown and most are now living in refugee camps in Bangladesh.

It also said that it would continue to work closely with Bangladesh, United Nation agencies, and worldwide partners to meet the urgent needs of the Rohingya.

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Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's de facto civilian leader, has been hit by a barrage of criticism from outside the country for failing to speak up for the Rohingya throughout the crisis or weigh in on the side of the Reuters' journalists.

An independent United Nations fact-finding mission in August concluded that Myanmar's military previous year carried out mass killings and gang rapes of Muslim Rohingya with "genocidal intent" and the commander-in-chief and five generals should be prosecuted for orchestrating the gravest crimes under law.

She emphasized that the Reuters journalists were doing their job and had not committed a crime.

Earlier Friday, the top government spokesman addressed another issue that has drawn worldwide criticism of Myanmar, the sentencing of two Reuters journalists to seven years in prison on charges of illegal possession of official documents. The reporters had been gathering evidence of a massacre by security forces of 10 Rohingya in a village in Rakhine state at the time of their arrest.

Santiago said this ruling, however, is for now just on the jurisdiction to investigate around the alleged crime of deportation and we must be cautious in our optimism.

That gives Bensouda a chance to see if there is enough evidence to open a full-blown probe, which could eventually lead to a trial.

Given those implicated in the Rohingya crisis are top generals with an overarching presence across public bodies, it's unlikely the national police will turn them in.