Myanmar’s Citizenship Law as State Crime: A Case for the International Criminal Court

Journal-front-cover-201x300My article about how Myanmar uses its citizenship law to enforce apartheid conditions against the Rohingya was published in the State Crime Journal recently. You can access the article ‘Myanmar’s Citizenship Law as State Crime: A Case for the International Criminal Court‘ here.

Citation: Lee, R. (2019). Myanmar’s Citizenship Law as State Crime: A Case for the International Criminal Court. State Crime Journal, 8(2), 241-279. doi:10.13169/statecrime.8.2.0241

Abstract: This article argues that Myanmar’s authorities subject the Rohingya to human rights violations that can be accurately described as the crime of apartheid. Myanmar’s discriminatory application of its citizenship laws and processes is central to this crime, yet while Myanmar is not a signatory to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, the court’s jurisdiction remains limited. However, Myanmar’s government has brought this crime to the territory of International Criminal Court (ICC) member state Bangladesh. Because Myanmar’s government insists upon Rohingya participation in discriminatory citizenship processes as a precondition of refugee repatriation to Myanmar, this presents the ICC with an opportunity to assert its jurisdiction. While current ICC investigation focusses mostly on alleged crimes committed by the Myanmar military, crimes associated with Myanmar’s citizenship processes would likely be the responsibility of Myanmar’s civilian government, including State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, making Myanmar’s civilian political leaders liable for the first time to ICC prosecution.