Just hours ahead of the long-awaited verdict on the Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal case, both the defence and prosecution remain certain that it will go their way. The case pertains to alleged crimes within the court’s jurisdiction in the context of the repression of the Rohingya people, with the main defendant being the Bangladeshi home minister.
In a press conference before the verdict, the defence criticised the case, stating that “he is just on trial because the ICC is unable to prosecute the real perpetrator in Myanmar”, and that the Bangladeshi home minister is simply a “scapegoat”. Furthermore, the defence stressed safe relocation to Bhasan Char in cooperation with the UN commissioner for refugees, emphasising that Bangladesh is doing everything it can.
On the opposing side, the prosecution remains convinced of Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal’s guilt, citing “deep going” evidence and witness statements “who experienced the atrocities which they have to face on a daily basis”. As explained, the focus is not in the Bangladeshi state on the whole but particularly “the acts that are committed by authorities under the umbrella of the minister of home affairs”.
The case remains highly complex, and the verdict will inevitably be impactful. Now we wait for the judges to deliberate and will finally receive an answer on this controversial case.
- Tom Smiths, Special correspondent for Reuters