UN court ruling on Rohingya victory for justice - GulfToday

UN court ruling on Rohingya victory for justice

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The head of a UN fact-finding mission on Myanmar had warned recently that there was a serious risk of genocide recurring.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordering Myanmar to take urgent measures to protect its Rohingya population from genocide is a landmark verdict and certainly should be seen as a triumph of international justice.

The fact that the ruling by the 17-judge panel was unanimous adds further credence to the decision.

The head of a UN fact-finding mission on Myanmar had warned recently that there was a serious risk of genocide recurring.

The Rohingya still inside Myanmar are living in deplorable conditions and facing persecution.

Compounding the problems, the repatriation of a million Rohingya already driven from the country by the army remains impossible.

The court’s president, Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, has stated that the ICJ is of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable.

The world court has made it absolutely clear that its order for provisional measures intended to protect the Rohingya is binding and creates international legal obligations on Myanmar.

Considering that cover-up attempts are being made by those involved in heinous acts, it is good that the court has ordered Myanmar to “take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related” to allegations of genocidal acts.

It may be recalled that more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims were forced to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape the ethnic cleansing campaign involving mass rapes, killings and the torching of homes. United Nations investigators have said 10,000 people may have been killed.

The African nation of Gambia deserves praise for bringing up such a serious case exposing Myanmar’s condemnable actions.

The case filed at the ICJ clearly outlined that Myanmar’s campaign against the Rohingya, which includes “killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers, are genocidal in character because they are intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part.”

An Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar had also made it clear in a report wrapping up two years of documentation of human rights violations by security forces that counterinsurgency operations against Rohingya in 2017 included genocidal acts.

The horrific actions of violence and ethnic cleansing by Myanmar military have left the Rohingya horror-struck. They are genuinely gripped by fear.

Rohingya Muslims have long demanded that Myanmar give them citizenship, safety and their own land and homes they left behind.

Many refugees want to go back under direct UN supervision, not under the Myanmar government. Such a demand is justified considering how Myanmar has treated the victims.

For someone who had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize and adored as a pro-democracy icon, Aung San Suu Kyi’s fall from grace turned complete when she told the UN’s top court that there was no “genocidal intent” in Myanmar’s crackdown on Rohingya Muslims.

The entire world knows that not only have the Rohingya faced horrific violence at the hands of Myanmar security forces with no accountability, but they have also been subjected to decades-long systematic discrimination in Myanmar.

Now that the court has made its stand clear, Myanmar should fully comply with the orders and take all measures to prevent acts prohibited under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

As Param-Preet Singh, associate international justice director of Human Rights Watch points out, concerned governments and UN bodies should now weigh in to ensure that the order is enforced as the genocide case moves forward.