The International Court of Justice Orders Protections for the Rohingya People of Myanmar



Myanmar Ruling: The International Court of Justice [ICJ] ruled today that Myanmar [formerly Burma] must immediately implement measures to protect Rohingya Muslims against violence and preserve evidence of a past genocide against them. The decision of the Court was unanimous, including a judge from Myanmar who was selected to hear the case.

ICJ Opinion, Gambia v. Myanmar: "The Republic of the Union of Myanmar shall, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, in relation to the members of the Rohingya group in its territory, take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts within the scope of Article II of this Convention, in particular: (a) killing members of the group; (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the group; (c) deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; and (d) imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group."

This is an interim ruling in the case, and the Court will continue to hear evidence regarding past acts of genocide by Myanmar's military and paramilitary groups. It signals that the Court felt it had a responsibility to act quickly to prevent further acts of violence against the Rohingya who remain in Myanmar.


However, the Court's opinion is just a small first step in righting the wrongs committed against Rohingya Muslims since 2017 when Myanmar's military began a campaign of ethnic cleansing which forced about 700,000 to flee to refugee camps across the border in Bangladesh. During that campaign, Myanmar security forces are accused of mass murder, sexual violence, and burning entire villages to the ground.


The ICJ's decision is welcome news to those individuals who have worked tirelessly to get the international community to act in behalf of the Rohingya.

Washington Post: “As Rohingya, we feel vindicated today that the International Court of Justice has effectively established that genocide is the possible name of our persecution,” said Nay San Lwin, co-founder of the Free Rohingya Coalition. “Justice is partially served. We know that there is a long road ahead [but] this is a great day for the Rohingya.”

The ICJ is not the only international tribunal to take up the case. While the ICJ only rules on disputes between states, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has jurisdiction to try individuals accused of genocide or crimes against humanity. That body recently decided to conduct a full investigation of Myanmar's actions to decide if any individuals should be charged.


#news #humanrights #internationallaw

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