June 1, 2020

The Rohingya investigation by the International Criminal Court

In the picture Mr. Phakiso Mochochoko, the Director of Jurisdiction, Complementary and Cooperation Division of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor.

By Aurore Heugas.

In November 2019, the International Criminal Court (ICC) granted a request to open an investigation to find out the truth about alleged crimes committees against the Rohingya. 

On February 4, Director of Jurisdiction at the Complementary and Cooperation Division of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor, Phakiso Mochochoko, gave a press conference in Dhaka, Bangladesh, to offer more details about what the investigation will entail.

“Investigator from the Office of the Prosecutor will now seek to uncover the truth about what happened to the Rohingya people in Myanmar which brought them here to Bangladesh,” declared Phakiso Mochochoko. 

Myanmar is not a party to the ICC, but Bangladesh is, which is why the Court’s Judges have authorised the investigation with broad parameters. The Prosecutor will be able to investigate “any crimes which fall within ICC jurisdiction and committed, at least in part, on the territory of Bangladesh, insofar as the crimes are sufficiently linked to the situation,” explained Mr Mochochoko. The investigation will then be able to cover all alleged crimes committed from the time Bangladesh joined the ICC in June 2010 and will cover any future crimes linked to the situation. 

The press conference stressed the importance of confidentiality during the investigating process. Details will therefore not be publicized during the currently ongoing investigating phase. It “is crucial not just for the integrity of the investigation, but also for the security of all involved, including the victims and witnesses”. 

As a concluding statement, Phakiso Mochochoko acknowledged that while the expected outcome of the investigation is justice, it will not repair the damaged done to the Rohingya people. “It cannot bring back loved ones lost to the violence. It will not directly affect how they live in the camps. It will not have an impact on their current situation.”

What it aims to do however is make sure these stories are not forgotten and that the people responsible for the crimes committed face the just consequences, face justice.

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