Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Move to get an International Criminal Court investigation into state violence

On 1 December 2013, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay pointed out in a press statement that Bangladesh was a State Party to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and added
“In other situations, we have seen cases of political or election related violence where the perpetrators of such acts - including political leadership - have faced prosecution.”
Although it was generally interpreted at the time as a warning to both the government and the opposition, the press statement had in fact only referred to opposition violence, stating earlier on that:
“In the past week, we have seen acts as extreme as protestors throwing molotov cocktails onto public buses without allowing the occupants to escape, leaving women and children with horrific burns.”
Whatever Pillay's intention may have been, today marked the first formal attempt by lawyers to get the ICC to engage with Bangladesh.