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  • Rohingya Students Network

Our Open Letter to Mr Karim Khan, Prosecutor, ICC

Open Letter to Mr Karim Khan, Prosecutor, ICC July 03, 2023


Subject: Request to meet with Karim Khan in July 2023, and answers on questions we have about the Rohingya case at the ICC


Dear Prosecutor Karim Khan,

We the undersigned 20 Rohingya Civil Society Organisations based in Cox's Bazar refugee Camp in Bangladesh write this open letter to you , as you visit the Cox’s Bazar refugee camp this week, on behalf of the Rohingya groups living in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh - who have been waiting for any sign that we will get justice through the International Criminal Court (ICC) case for three and a half years. As representatives of these genocide survivors, we express our concerns and raise important questions regarding the investigations, the lack of engagement with us, and the lack of progress by your prosecution team.


Lack of Information and Misconceptions

One of the most significant challenges we face in the camps is the prevalence of misinformation and misunderstandings surrounding the ICC case. For the Rohingya, justice is synonymous with the hope of returning to their homeland in Myanmar. Because of this, many people in the camp wrongly assume that the ICC case will facilitate their repatriation. As those who understand the court, we are left to try to counter these misconceptions by ourselves. We have never been offered any support in doing this by the ICC.


Absence of a Field Office

We are deeply concerned about the absence of an ICC field office in the refugee camp. In 2020, we made a submission to the Pre-Trial Chamber which included the request to open a field office. This was accompanied by a petition, asking for an office to be opened, signed by over 13,000 people in the camp. Still, we have not heard from the Court about why this has not happened. We know that in other ICC investigations, such an office is opened quickly within the affected community. Establishing a field office within the camp would allow for enhanced communication, collaboration, and direct engagement between the ICC and the affected Rohingya communities. Such a presence would not only help dispel misconceptions but also provide a platform for the victims to voice their concerns and contribute to the overall pursuit of justice.


Lack of ICC Outreach

While we appreciate the support and guidance provided by some of our partners in raising awareness and conducting trainings on the ICC case, we are disheartened by the limited interaction and engagement with ICC representatives themselves. Our meetings with ICC officials have been infrequent, confined to brief visits, leaving our organisations to be the ones responsible for disseminating information about the court's proceedings. We request a more sustained presence and engagement from the ICC within the camp, enabling us to better coordinate our efforts and ensure accurate information reaches the affected communities.


Inequality in the Treatment of the Rohingya Case

We cannot overlook the disparity in the allocation of resources and attention between the Rohingya case and other situations, such as Ukraine. It is disheartening to observe that the case of Ukraine receives comparatively more resources and support, while the Rohingya crisis continues to face significant challenges, including the overwhelming number of victims, and so far, no access to justice.


Requests

Given these concerns, we request the following:

1. Meet with the leaders of our organisations during your visit to the camp, in order to discuss these concerns. 2. Take immediate steps to establish a field office, ensuring that the ICC's work is more accessible, inclusive, and transparent for the Rohingya community. If there are barriers to establishing such an office, explain these to us, in the community, and outline the steps you have undertaken to overcome these barriers.

3. Provide support to the organisations, undertaking outreach work on behalf of the ICC. 4. Provide clarification on the factors contributing to the discrepancy in the way the Rohingya case is treated by the ICC, in comparison to the other cases open before it – particularly Ukraine. We kindly request your attention and prompt response to the issues outlined herein. Our aim is to work in collaboration with the ICC to promote awareness, facilitate outreach, and ensure the rights of the Rohingya people are respected and protected.

Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, 1. Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights (ARSPH) 2. Rohingya Students Network -RSN 3. Rohingya Women Association for Education & Development (RWAED) 4. Rohingya Students Unity Right (RSUR) 5. Rohingya Women For Justice and Peace (RWJP) 6. Rohingya Youths for Lagal Action (RYLA) 7. Rohingya Education Development Plan (REDP) 8. Rohingya Advocacy and Awareness Association (RAAA) 9. Education and Wisdom Development for Rohingya Women (EWDRW) 10. Rohingya Union for Women Education and Development (RUWED) 11. Rohingya Youth Association (RYA) 12. Rohingya Girl School (RGS) 13. Bangladesh Rohingya Students Union (BRSU) 14. Youth for Rohingya Development (YRD) 15. New Life Community High School 16. New Life Education Center (NLEC) 17. Rohingya Women Empowerment and Advocacy Network (RWEAN) 18. Literature and Handicrafts for Women (LHW) 19. Rohingya Youth Development & Empowerment Network (RYDEN) 20. Arakan Rohingya National Union (ARNU)



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