BANGKOK – The office of the de facto leader of Myanmar has refused to respond to a petition by the International Criminal Court in The Hague on the exodus of around 690,000 members of the Rohingya Muslim minority to neighboring Bangladesh, which could constitute a crime against humanity.
“Myanmar is concerned with the lack of fairness and transparency of the ICC proceedings,” the office of Aung San Suu Kyi said in a statement posted on Twitter on Friday by the Union Enterprise for humanitarian Assistance, Resettlement and Development in Rakhine State.
The office of Suu Kyi, who holds the title of state counselor, reiterated that the ICC had no jurisdiction on Myanmar as it was not a signatory of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the court.
The statement came after the court questioned Myanmar authorities in June about the circumstances surrounding the exit of the Rohingyas, which, according to the prosecutor of the ICC, could constitute a crime against humanity.
The exodus of the Rohingyas from western Myanmar’s Rakhine state began on Aug. 25 after an offensive by the military, who has been accused of killings, rapes and burning homes, in response to an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group.
The Myanmar authorities had until July 27 to respond in writing, publicly or confidentially and the office of the State Councilor said in its statement it has “declined to engage with the ICC by way of a formal reply” as it considers that the ICC has no jurisdiction on its country.
The ICC prosecutor’s office has gathered data from various United Nations organizations, media and nonprofits including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch to document the alleged abuses suffered by this minority since Aug. 2017.
Earlier in the year, Myanmar had accused the ICC of overriding the principle of national sovereignty with a possible probe.
However, the prosecutor’s office argues that Bangladesh, the country to which the Rohingyas fled, has ratified the Statute and has been under the Hague’s jurisdiction since 2010.