Bangladesh had been at the forefront of the global campaign for the early adoption of the Rome Statute and the creation of the International Criminal Court (ICC). Bangladesh’s conviction to such an instrument has been as old as the struggle that led to its independence in 1971, during which three million innocent civilians were killed and 200,000 women and girls endured gender-based violence. Therefore, as a nation, Bangladesh has committed itself towards bringing an end of impunity to the most heinous crimes of international concerns – the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.
The Rome Statute that founds the ICC was adopted on 17 July 1998 and it came into effect on 1 July 2002. Bangladesh signed the Rome Statute in 1999 and ratified it on 23 March 2010. Bangladesh is the first country in South Asia to ratify the Rome Statute.
Bangladesh maintains close cooperation with the ICC. The Hon’ble Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs visited the ICC in January 2015 and the Hon’ble Foreign Minister visited the ICC in April 2015. The Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs Mr. Md. Shahriar Alam, MP led Bangladesh delegation at the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute in 2016 in The Hague. At the Assembly, Hon’ble State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh expressed unequivocal support for the Rome Statute and to the ICC to bring an end of the impunity to the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. The Hon’ble State Minister informed the Assembly about Bangladesh’s ongoing efforts to bring to justice those who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity during Bangladesh’s War of Liberation in 1971 to end the culture of impunity consistent with the Rome Statute’s ‘complementarity’ principle, which allows purely domestic courts the mandate to hold trials for the Rome Statute crimes.
A judicial delegation led by the Hon’ble Chief Justice of Bangladesh visited the ICC in June 2017 to exchange views with the principal entities of the ICC (Presidency, Prosecution and Registry).
Dr. Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury, MP, Hon’ble Speaker of Bangladesh Parliament joined the 20th Anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute programmes held on 17 July 2018 in The Hague at the joint invitation from Presidents of the ICC and the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute.
Bangladesh served in the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute as the Facilitator of the Trust Fund for Victims at the ICC for the term 2015-2016. Bangladesh was elected as a member of the 21-member Bureau of the Assembly of States Parties for the period 2018-2020. This is for the first time Bangladesh was elected as a member of the Bureau. Bangladesh’s nominated candidate Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal was elected as a member of the Board of Directors of the Trust Fund for Victims at the ICC (representing Asia-Pacific States) for three years with effect from December 2018.