Monday, February 17, 2020 | ePaper

Myanmar Rohingya: World court orders prevention of genocide

  • Print




The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered measures to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar (formerly Burma).

The decision comes despite de facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi defending her country against the accusations in person last month.

Thousands of Rohingya died and more than 700,000 fled to Bangladesh during an army crackdown in 2017.

UN investigators have warned that genocidal actions could recur.

The ICJ case, lodged by the African Muslim-majority nation of The Gambia, called for emergency measures to be taken against the Myanmar military until a fuller investigation could be launched.
Myanmar, a predominantly Buddhist state, has always insisted that its military campaign was waged to tackle an extremist threat in Rakhine state.

In her defence statement at the court in The Hague, Ms Suu Kyi described the violence as an "internal armed conflict" triggered by Rohingya militant attacks on government security posts.
What did the court say?

The panel of 17 judges at the ICJ on Thursday voted unanimously to order Myanmar to take "all measures within its power" to prevent genocide, which they said the Rohingya remained at serious risk of.

These include the prevention of killing, and "causing serious bodily or mental harm" to members of the group, as well as preserving evidence of possible genocide that has already occurred.

Presiding judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said Myanmar should report back within four months on how it was implementing the ruling.

The measures are binding and not subject to appeal, but the court has no means of enforcing them.

What now for Aung San Suu Kyi?

This judgment has surely obliterated any remnants of Aung San Suu Kyi's international reputation.

Remember, she didn't have to go to The Hague and become the embodiment of Myanmar's defence. She chose to argue, in person, there was no mass murder, rape or arson.
Even her biggest critics used to acknowledge she doesn't control the still powerful Burmese army, but now she has destroyed the firewall between her and the generals by trying - and failing - to justify their actions.
So far, Myanmar has played by the rules of the International Court of Justice. But will it abide by these emergency measures?
Writing today in a British newspaper, Aung San Suu Kyi questioned whether the international justice system was capable of ignoring "unsubstantiated narratives" told by human rights groups and UN investigators against her country.
So, after initially engaging with the UN's top court, will a defeated Aung San Suu Kyi retreat now into isolation?

What is Myanmar's position?

During hearings at the court in December, Ms Suu Kyi asked the ICJ to drop the case, describing it as "incomplete and incorrect".
And in an article for the Financial Times published shortly before the court's judgement she said human rights groups had condemned Myanmar based on "unproven statements without the due process of criminal investigation".
"The international condemnation has had a negative effect on Myanmar's endeavours to bring stability and progress to Rakhine," she said.
"It has undermined painstaking domestic efforts to establish co-operation between the military and the civilian government."
Her remarks also appeared to echo a statement by a government-appointed panel earlier this week which accepted that war crimes may have been committed by individuals but said there was no indication of an intent to commit genocide.
However, the BBC's Anna Holligan, who is in The Hague, says that by coming to the court in December, Ms Suu Kyi had in effect recognised its legitimacy and it will now be difficult for Myanmar to ignore its judgement.

What is the background to the case?

The Rohingya, who numbered around one million in Myanmar at the start of 2017, are one of the many ethnic minorities in the country. Rohingya Muslims are the largest community of Muslims in Myanmar, with the majority living in Rakhine state.
But Myanmar's government denies them citizenship, refusing to recognise them as a people and seeing them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Waves of Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar for Bangladesh over the decades but their latest exodus began on 25 August 2017 after militants from a Rohingya insurgent group called Arsa launched deadly attacks on more than 30 police posts.
Rohingyas arriving in Bangladesh said they fled after troops, backed by local Buddhist mobs, responded by burning their villages and attacking and killing civilians.
The government claims that "clearance operations" against the militants ended on 5 September 2017, but analysis of satellite imagery by Human Rights Watch suggests hundreds of villages were destroyed after August that year.
With more than half a million Rohingya believed to still be living in Rakhine, UN investigators have warned there is a "serious risk that genocidal actions may occur or recur".
The state is the scene of an ongoing conflict between the army and rebels from the Buddhist-majority Rakhine ethnic group.

Source: BBC NEWS

More News For this Category

Coronavirus cases rise again in China's Hubei province

Coronavirus cases rise again in China's Hubei province

The number of reported new cases of coronavirus in China's Hubei province rose on Monday after two days of falls, as authorities imposed tough new

China returnee admitted to Habiganj hospital over coronavirus suspicion

China returnee admitted to Habiganj hospital over coronavirus suspicion

Staff Reporter: A China returnee student has been admitted to a government hospital in Habiganj on suspicion of infecting with the novel coronavirus.

Prothom Alo Editor Matiur Rahman gets fresh bail

A Dhaka court has granted bail to Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman over the death of Naimul Abrar Rahat, a student of Dhaka Residential Model School and College who died

The Amnesty International must come forward to save the lives of Rohingya refugees

Editorial Desk : Yet another human tragedy mainly involving young Rohingya girls took place in the sea off the Myanmar coast near St Martin's Island on February 11. In

 High-cost flyovers bring no relief

High-cost flyovers bring no relief

Special Correspondent :People are yet to get any relief from the city's nagging traffic jam though the authorities built several flyovers in and around the capital Dhaka costing over Tk

Wuhan returnees must remain cautious for 10 more days: IEDCR

Staff Reporter :The 312 Bangladeshi evacuees from China's coronavirus-hit city of Wuhan have been advised to excercise extra caution for the next 10 days as they began returning home after

China provides most advanced kits to BD to detect virus

Staff Reporter :Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said that China is sending 500 sets of 'most advanced kits' to Bangladesh to identify coronavirus as a gesture of

Catch tax-dodging foreign workers

Staff Reporter :Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Chairman Iqbal Mahmood has asked the officials of the National Board of Revenue (NBR) to 'catch' the identified tax-dodging foreign nationals working in Bangladesh.He also

Khaleda's parole appeal not yet received: Asad No secret deal: Quader

Staff Reporter  :Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal on Sunday said the government has not yet received any appeal for the release of BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on parole.He also said

 New China virus cases drop for 3rd day as toll passes 1,600

New China virus cases drop for 3rd day as toll passes 1,600

AFP :The number of new cases from China's coronavirus epidemic dropped for a third consecutive day on Sunday, as the World Health Organisation chief warned it was "impossible" to predict