Bangladesh, first in South Asia to ratify Rome Statute

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 24 March 2010, 00:13 GMT]
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh Monday became the first country in the South Asian sub-region to ratify the Rome Statute becoming the 111th member of the group of Nations to abide by the laws of the International Criminal Court (ICC), and thereby, actively cooperate in areas such as providing evidence of war-crimes and crimes against humanity, surrendering indicted individuals and holding national trials. The Coalition for International Criminal Court (CICC), a non-profit organization, praised Bangladesh's membership as "an important step in the path to end impunity in a region vastly under‐represented at the Court." Of the 195 States of the world, 37 remain only signatories, and 47 remain Non-signatories.

Only 7 countries in the Asian continent, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Mongolia, the Republic of Korea and Timor‐Leste and Japan, have ratified the Rome Statute.

"We applaud this ratification as it demonstrates that the movement to put an end to the commission of grave crimes keeps growing. Bangladesh is making history,” said Brigitte Suhr, Director of Regional Programs of the CICC. “Today’s ratification proves that civil society’s tireless efforts have not been in vain,” he added.

“The government’s decision to ratify culminates the campaign against genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity waged by the people of Bangladesh since 1971,” said CICC's Secretary Odhikar in a press release issued today. “Bangladesh has demonstrated its commitment to international justice and no impunity for international crimes,” the press release said.

ICC is the first permanent international court capable of trying individuals accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity. Central to the Court’s mandate is the principle of complementarity, which holds that the Court will only intervene if national legal systems are unable or unwilling to do so. There are currently four active investigations before the Court: the Central African Republic; the Democratic Republic of Congo; Darfur, Sudan; and Uganda. There are also a number of situations under analysis including in Afghanistan, Chad, Côte d'Ivoire, Georgia and Kenya, according to CICC.

The Rome Statute entered into force after achieving 60 ratifications in July 2002, decades earlier than predicted.

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External Links:
AFP: UN to help Bangladesh war crimes trial planning
AlJazeera: Bangladesh 'war crimes' list out
BBC: Bangladesh war crimes stir tension (June 2008)
ICC: Rome Statute of the ICC
BD: Bangladesh ratifies Rome Statute
ICC: International Criminal Court
ICC: The Prosecutor
BD: Bangaladesh genocide archive


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