Statement of the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court at the conclusion of its visit to Bangladesh (6-11 March 2019)
Today, the Office of the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court ("ICC" or the "Court") concluded its first visit to the People's Republic of Bangladesh in the context of the on-going preliminary examination concerning the alleged deportation of the Rohingya people from Myanmar to Bangladesh. The purpose of this visit was to engage with relevant stakeholders, explain the preliminary examination process, and travel to the refugee camps with a view to informing the Office's ongoing assessment.
On behalf of the Prosecutor, Mrs Fatou Bensouda, the delegation would like to express its gratitude to the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh for providing its support to this visit and facilitating meetings with the relevant national authorities. During this past week, the delegation had constructive exchanges with senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs; and Home Affairs; as well as various law enforcement agencies.
The delegation also had the opportunity to exchange views with representatives of various agencies of the United Nations and members of the diplomatic community, as well as academics from the University of Dhaka's Centre for Genocide Studies.
In Cox's Bazar, the delegation visited the refugee camps and met with government authorities, humanitarian agencies and NGOs, as well as a number of victims' representatives. The delegation listened carefully to their views and concerns.
The insights gained from the visit will continue to inform the Office's ongoing assessment of the situation.
The independent and impartial preliminary examination of the situation in Bangladesh/Myanmar is on-going and will follow its course. A preliminary examination is not an investigation, but an assessment of the Rome Statute criteria to decide whether an investigation into the situation at hand is warranted. Therefore, during this mission, as is standard practice of the Office, the delegation did not collect evidence or perform any other investigative activities.
The field visit enabled the Office, however, to hold productive meetings in Bangladesh, and to fully appreciate the sheer magnitude and severity of this human tragedy.
The Office is committed to making continued progress on the preliminary examination process and is grateful to the authorities of Bangladesh and many other partners for their strong support.
- Policy Paper on Preliminary Examinations (2013);
- Report on Preliminary Examination Activities (2018).
The Office of the Prosecutor of the ICC conducts independent and impartial preliminary examinations, investigations and prosecutions of the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and aggression. Since 2003, the Office has been conducting investigations in multiple situations within the ICC's jurisdiction, namely in Uganda; the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Darfur, Sudan; the Central African Republic (two distinct situations); Kenya; Libya; Côte d'Ivoire; Mali; Georgia and Burundi. Pre-Trial Chamber II is seized of the Prosecutor's request for authorisation to commence an investigation into the situation in the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. The Office is also conducting preliminary examinations relating to the situations in Bangladesh/Myanmar; Colombia; Guinea; Iraq/UK; Palestine; the Philippines; Nigeria; Ukraine, and Venezuela.