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Myanmar says ICC lacks jurisdiction to probe Rohingya crisis

AFP  |  Yangon 

has expressed "serious concern" over an attempt at the to open a probe into mass deportations of Rohingya Muslims, dismissing the claims and saying the court has no jurisdiction.

Some 700,000 people from the stateless Muslim minority fled Myanmar's Rakhine state to following Rohingya insurgent attacks on border posts in August last year.

says it was defending itself from the rebel but harrowing testimony from refugees in of rape, extrajudicial killing and arson has prompted accusations of ethnic cleansing and genocide.

On Monday, the chief for the in asked judges to rule whether the body has jurisdiction to open a probe into the more than 670,000 Rohingya who have been "intentionally deported across the international border into Bangladesh".

responded today in a statement from the ministry that oversees civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi's state office.

The statement highlights the legal thorniness around the possible probe by arguing that Myanmar is not a party to the statute that countries must sign on to as ICC member states.

"Nowhere in the ICC Charter does it say that the Court has jurisdiction over States which have not accepted that jurisdiction," Myanmar's statement says.

is a member, however, and chief said in her filing that her office does have the authority to investigate.

She contends the crime of deportation is like a cross-border shooting and "not completed until the bullet (fired in one state) strikes and kills the victim (standing in another state)".

A pre-trial chamber of judges is currently reviewing her request but no decision has been made.

said the is attempting to override its sovereignty and rejected the claims in the filing.

"Myanmar reiterates that it has not deported any individuals in the areas of concern and in fact has worked hard in collaboration with Bangladesh to repatriate those displaced from their homes," the statement said.

The two countries have agreed to start repatriating Rohingya refugees but so far not one has returned.

Set up in 2002, the ICC is the only permanent war crimes court and acts to prosecute abuses including genocide in countries where national courts are unwilling or unable to act.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Fri, April 13 2018. 20:50 IST