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ICC’s ruling on Myanmar could have implications for Syrian war criminals

By Linda Mottram on PM

Image: United Nations Photo/


Could a legal precedent at the International Criminal Court over Myanmar and the mass expulsion of the Rohingyas last year pave the way for the court to consider eventually trying Syria's leadership for war crimes?

The court has been unable to consider either of cases to date because neither Myanmar nor Syria are signatories to the ICC while China in the case of Myanmar, and Russia in the case of Syria, have blocked attempts by the UN Security Council to refer both countries to the court.

But last year, lawyers made a breakthrough in the case of Myanmar, they argued successfully that because the Rohingya refugees were driven out of Myanmar into Bangladesh, a country that is a member of the court, then the court could exercise jurisdiction in the case.

Earlier this week, the Guernica Centre for International Justice made a legal submission to the court in similar terms over Syria, focussed on Syrians forced to flee into neighbouring Jordan which is an ICC signatory.

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