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ICJ ruling on Rohingya crisis

Topics Covered: India and neighbours.

ICJ ruling on Rohingya crisis

What to study?

For Prelims: Who are Rohingya? Where is Rakhine?

For Mains: About the alleged genocide, concerns and what’s the way ahead?

Context: The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has given its verdict on the Rohingya crisis.

The ruling of the court is binding on Myanmar, and cannot be appealed.

However, no means are available to the court to enforce it.

What the ruling says?- provisional measures:

  1. The government of Myanmar should immediately take “all measures within its power” to prevent atrocities against members of the minority Rohingya Muslim community.
  2. This is to be done in accordance with its obligations under the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
  3. Myanmar shall ensure that its military or any irregular armed units within its control, do not commit any of the acts described above, or conspire to commit, direct, attempt to commit, or be complicit in genocide.
  4. Myanmar shall take “effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related to allegations of acts” of genocide.

How the case reached ICJ?

It was the Republic of the Gambia. It went to the ICJ in November 2019, accusing Myanmar of genocide, which is the most serious of all international crimes.

The Gambia was backed by the 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Myanmar was represented by Nobel Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi.

What Next?

This order is a provisional measure and a restraining order.

The hearings dealing with the main, and more serious allegations of genocide by the Myanmar military, have not even started. And cases at the ICJ often drag on for years on end, and no quick closure can be reasonably expected.

How common is it to convict a country for genocide?

So far, only three cases of genocide worldwide have been recognised since World War II: Cambodia (the late 1970s), Rwanda (1994), and Srebrenica, Bosnia (1995).

Proving genocide has been difficult because of the high bar set by its ‘intent requirement’ — that is showing the genocidal acts were carried out with the specific intent to eliminate a people on the basis of their ethnicity.

Rohingya Crisis in Short:

  • An estimated 7.3 lakh Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh since 2017 when the Myanmar military launched a brutal crackdown on Rohingya villages in the country’s coastal Rakhine state. In August 2019, the UN said the army’s action was carried out with “genocidal intent”.
  • Myanmar has stoutly denied all allegations of genocide. It has also denied nearly all allegations made by the Rohingya of mass rape, killings and arson against its army. Myanmar says the soldiers carried out legitimate counterterrorism operations.

More about ICJ:


Sources: Indian Express.