Myanmar has rejected an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into alleged crimes against the Rohingya, as the country faces mounting international pressure over its treatment of the minority ethnic group.
The Hague-based court on Thursday approved a full probe into Myanmar’s 2017 military crackdown against the majority-Muslim community, Al Jazeera reported. “The investigation over Myanmar by the ICC is not in accordance with international law,” government spokesman Zaw Htay was quoted as saying at a news conference on Friday.
Zaw Htay repeated that Myanmar’s own committees would investigate any abuses and ensure accountability if needed.
A brutal army campaign in August 2017 forced more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar’s Rakhine State, most seeking refuge in overcrowded camps across the border in Bangladesh.
During its crackdown, which was launched in response to attacks by an armed group, the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes with “genocidal intent”, the United Nations had said in a report.
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 of the organisation.
The ICC decision came after The Gambia, in West Africa, on Monday launched a separate case at the Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The Gambia, acting on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), accused Myanmar of genocide. The first hearings of the case are scheduled to take place in December.
Meanwhile, Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi was among several top Myanmar officials named in a case filed in Argentina on Wednesday for crimes against Rohingya. This is the first time when the Nobel peace laureate has been targeted in legal action over the issue.