SINGAPORE – A prosecutor for the International Criminal Court on Thursday formally requested judges to authorize an investigation into alleged crimes against humanity and “other inhumane acts” carried out against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.
According to the court documents, the prosecutor alleges that there is a “reasonable basis” to support that Myanmar’s armed forces, along with police and civilians, carried out “crimes against humanity” that facilitated the mass deportation of Rohingya across the nation’s western border into Bangladesh starting in 2016.
The request comes days after United Nations investigators warned that fresh human rights violations are being committed against civilians still in the area by Myanmar security forces.
“At least 700,000 Rohingya people were deported from Myanmar to Bangladesh through a range of coercive acts,” the office of the prosecutor wrote in a statement. “That great suffering or serious injury has been inflicted on the Rohingya through violating their right to return to their state of origin.”
Last year, ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda opened a preliminary investigation into the atrocities. The U.N. and others have accused Myanmar’s military of murdering thousands of Rohingya Muslims in western Rakhine state with genocidal intent.
Myanmar’s armed forces have repeatedly denied committing atrocities against the Muslim minority, dodging accusations that include gang rapes, murder and torching whole villages.
Last month, Malaysia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Saifuddin Abdullah called for justice to be brought to the perpetrators of the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar as Southeast Asian leaders gathered in Bangkok for its biannual Asean summit.
The prosecutor’s request is now with the court’s judges, who will render a decision.