Myanmar has rejected an International Criminal Court (ICC) investigation into alleged crimes against the Rohingya, as its faces mounting global legal pressure over its treatment of the minority ethnic group.
The Hague-based court on Thursday approved a full probe into Myanmar's bloody 2017 military crackdown against the mostly-Muslim group - a move welcomed by the rights groups.
"The investigation over Myanmar by the ICC is not in accordance with international law," government spokesman Zaw Htay said at a news conference on Friday (Nov 15).
Zaw Htay repeated that Myanmar's own committees would investigate any abuses and ensure accountability if needed.
A brutal army campaign in August 2017 forced more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee Myanmar's Rakhine State, most seeking refuge in overcrowded camps across the border in Bangladesh.
During its crackdown, which was launched in response to attacks by an armed group, the military carried out mass killings and gang rapes with "genocidal intent", according to the United Nations-mandated investigators.
Myanmar has repeatedly defended the crackdown as necessary to stamp out fighters and has long refused to recognise the authority of the ICC - a position it reiterated on Friday.
Even though the country has not signed up to the court, the ICC ruled last year it has jurisdiction over crimes against the Rohingya because Bangladesh, where they are now refugees, is a member.
"Myanmar and the government are neither in denial nor closing our eyes," Zaw Htay said.
BDST: 1410 HRS, NOV 16, 2019