International court judges authorize Rohingya investigation

File photo taken on October 9, 201 of Rohingya refugees walking with their belongings after crossing the Naf river from Myanmar into Bangladesh in Whaikhyang. Former democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is among several top Myanmar officials named November 13, in a case filed in Argentina for crimes against Rohingya Muslims. (AFP)
Updated 14 November 2019

International court judges authorize Rohingya investigation

  • Former democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was among several top Myanmar officials named in suit
  • Myanmar’s military began a counterinsurgency campaign in August 2017

THE HAGUE, Netherlands: International Criminal Court judges on Thursday approved a request from prosecutors to open an investigation into crimes committed against Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

The court said that it has jurisdiction over crimes partially committed in Bangladesh, which is a member state of the court. Myanmar, which is not a member of the global court, has been accused of committing widespread abuses in a campaign against the Rohingya.

Myanmar’s military began a counterinsurgency campaign in August 2017 in response to an insurgent attack. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape what has been called an ethnic cleansing campaign involving mass rapes, killings and the torching of homes.

Former democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was among several top Myanmar officials named on Wednesday Nov. 13, in a case filed in Argentina.

The court said in a statement that a panel of judges who studied Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda’s request to open an investigation concluded that there are grounds to believe widespread acts of violence were committed “that could qualify as the crimes against humanity of deportation across the Myanmar-Bangladesh border and persecution on grounds of ethnicity and/or religion against the Rohingya population.”

The decision came just days after Gambia, on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, filed a case at the International Court of Justice accusing Myanmar of genocide in its treatment of the Rohingya.

Both courts are based in The Hague. The International Criminal Court seeks to convict individuals responsible for crimes, while the International Court of Justice settles disputes between nations.


Meghan seeks to stop tabloid naming friends in UK legal battle

Updated 13 min 30 sec ago

Meghan seeks to stop tabloid naming friends in UK legal battle

  • Meghan is taking on Mail on Sunday to court
  • Duchess says 5 friends have right to privacy

LONDON: Meghan, Britain's Duchess of Sussex, on Thursday sought a court order to stop the publisher of the Mail on Sunday tabloid from revealing the names of five friends who could be witnesses in an ongoing legal dispute, according to a court filing.
Meghan, wife of Queen Elizabeth's grandson Prince Harry, is suing publisher Associated Newspapers over articles the Mail on Sunday printed last year that included parts of a handwritten letter she sent to her estranged father, Thomas Markle, in August 2018.
Markle and his daughter have not spoken since he pulled out of appearing at her wedding to Harry in May 2018.
The Mail justified publishing the letter by saying five unnamed friends of Meghan had put her version of events in interviews with the U.S. magazine People.
Her legal team say it was untrue she had authorised or arranged for her friends to tell People about the letter, and on Thursday said Associated Newspapers were threatening to publish their names.
"These five women are not on trial, and nor am I. The publisher of the Mail on Sunday is the one on trial," Meghan said in a witness statement to London's High Court reviewed by Reuters.
"Each of these women is a private citizen... and each has a basic right to privacy," she added, saying their names had appeared in a confidential section of her legal papers.
A spokesman for the Mail on Sunday said the newspaper had "no intention" of publishing the names of the friends this weekend, but said it had told Meghan's lawyers that the question of their confidentiality should be considered by the court.
"Their evidence is at the heart of the case and we see no reason why their identities should be kept secret," he said.
Meghan, Harry and their baby son Archie are living in Los Angeles, having stepped down from royal duties at the end of March, partly because of intense media intrusion into their lives.
In documents filed last week as part of Meghan’s privacy case, her lawyers said her friends had spoken out because of the "tremendous emotional distress" caused by "false" British tabloid press articles.
In May, the judge in the case rejected part of her claim that the paper had acted dishonestly and stoked the rift with her father. The full trial is not expected until next year.