Myanmar snubs Hague court’s intervention in Rohingya crisis

YANGON, Myanmar — Myanmar on Thursday sharply rejected an attempt by the International Criminal Court to consider the country’s culpability for activities that caused about 700,000 minority Rohingya Muslims to flee to Bangladesh for safety.

The office of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s leader, said in a statement posted online that the court in the Netherlands has no jurisdiction over Myanmar because it is not a member state.

It also offered procedural reasons for why it would not respond formally to the court’s request for its views on the exodus of the Rohingya, and said the question ‘‘is meritless and should be dismissed.’’ The ICC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.


Critics including UN experts have accused Myanmar’s military of atrocities against the Rohingya amounting to ethnic cleansing, or even genocide. Suu Kyi’s government says it was carrying out justifiable counterinsurgency operations in response to attacks on security forces by Rohingya militants in August last year.

Get Today's Headlines in your inbox:
The day's top stories delivered every morning.
Thank you for signing up! Sign up for more newsletters here

The army, according to accounts compiled by human rights organizations, beat and killed civilians, organized rapes, and burned thousands of homes belonging to Rohingya in Myanmar’s western state of Rakhine.

The ICC had solicited Myanmar’s views in April, and later set a July 27 deadline for a response to the question of whether the court should have jurisdiction over the matter.

Thursday’s Myanmar government statement accused the court of violating international legal norms by seeking to assert jurisdiction over the issue despite Myanmar not being a party to the Rome Statute establishing the court.

‘‘By allowing such a contrived procedure, the ICC may set a dangerous precedent whereby future populistic causes and complaints against non-State Parties to the Rome Statute may be litigated at the urging of biased stakeholders and non-governmental organizations and even then, selectively based on the political current of the times,’’ it said.


The Rohingya have long faced severe discrimination and were the target of violence in 2012 that killed hundreds and drove about 140,000 people from their homes to camps for the internally displaced, where most remained until last year’s violence. The government refuses to recognize the Rohingya as a legitimate native ethnic minority.

associated press