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ICC prosecutor seeks to open Rohingya deportation probe

ICC prosecutor seeks to open Rohingya deportation probe
From Al Jazeera - April 10, 2018

The chief prosecutor for the International Criminal Court (ICC) has asked it to rule on whether it has jurisdiction over the deportations of Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh.

A ruling affirming jurisdiction could pave the way for Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda to investigate the deportation of many thousands of Rohingya, a possible crime against humanity.

In a filing published on Monday, Bensouda contended that "consistent and credible reports ... indicate that since August 2017 more than 670,000 Rohingya, lawfully present in Myanmar, have been intentionally deported across the international border into Bangladesh."

Asking judges to rule whether the ICC has jurisdiction, she said: "This is not an abstract question but a concrete one, affecting whether the Court may exercise jurisdiction ... to investigate and, if necessary, prosecute."

The main reason for doubt over jurisdiction is that, while Bangladesh is a member of the court, Myanmar is not.

Bensouda argued that, given the cross-border nature of the crime of deportation, a ruling in favour of ICC jurisdiction would be in line with established legal principles.

But she acknowledged uncertainty around the definition of the crime of deportation and limits of the court's jurisdiction.

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