Yangon, January 24 (newsin.asia): The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Thursday directed Myanmar to submit a report to the Court on all measures taken to give effect to its order on the Rohingya “genocide” issue within four months and thereafter every six months, until a final decision on the case is rendered by the Court.
“Every report so provided shall then be communicated to The Gambia which shall be given the opportunity to submit to the Court its comments thereon,” the court further said.
The Gambia, a Muslim country in Africa, had taken the Rohingya genocide case to the ICJ.
The Court reaffirmed that its “orders on provisional measures under Article 41 [of the Statute] have a binding effect.”
The ICJ said: “Bearing in mind Myanmar’s duty to comply with its obligations under the Genocide Convention, the Court considers that, with regard to the situation described above, Myanmar must, in accordance with its obligations under the Convention, 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 the Convention.”
“In particular, Myanmar must stop: (a) killing members of the group (Rohingyas); (b) causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the Rohingya 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, mentioned.
The ICJ ruling further said: “Myanmar must also, in relation to the members of the Rohingya group in its territory, ensure that its military, as well as any irregular armed units which may be directed or supported by it and any organizations and persons which may be subject to its control, direction or influence, do not commit acts of genocide, or of conspiracy to commit genocide, of direct and public incitement to commit genocide, of attempt to commit genocide, or of complicity in genocide.”
“The Court is also of the view that Myanmar must take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of any evidence related to allegations of acts within the scope of Article II of the Genocide Convention.”
Aung San Suu Kyi’s Defense
In a very rare opinion piece published in the Financial Times on Thursday, Myanmar’s State Counselor or Prime Minister Daw Aung San Suu Kyi wrote that the international community presented a distorted picture of Myanmar and that this had affected the country’s diplomatic relations
Myanmar’ State Counselor (Prime Minister) Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has criticized the international condemnation of Myanmar over the Rohingya issue, saying it has had a negative effect on the country’s endeavors to bring stability and progress to Rakhine State, which is populated by the persecuted Muslim Rohingya community.
“Should countries with even fewer resources than Myanmar be similarly condemned, the consequences for them could be dire,” Suu Kyi said.
Myanmar has faced heavy international condemnation since late 2017 following the killings and displacement of Rohingyas in Rakhine State. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh after the government’s security forces launched clearance operations in northern Rakhine State in response to a series of attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) on police outposts in the area in August 2017.
Those who fled recalled arbitrary killings, rape and arson against their property by Myanmar security forces. UN investigators said the operations had “genocidal intent”. But both the Myanmar government and military have denied the accusation.
Cases have been brought against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court, and a private lawsuit has been brought in Argentina accusing the country of committing genocide against the Rohingyas.
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi further said: “All the cases [against the country] rely extensively on a fact-finding mission by the UN Human Rights Council, which is precariously dependent on statements by refugees in camps in Bangladesh.”
She said a comprehensive inquiry into the 2017 violence and mass displacement in Rakhine was conducted by the Independent Commission of Enquiry (ICOE), which was established on the orders of her government. The commission presented its final report to the President last Monday.
She said the ICOE reported that some refugees may have provided inaccurate or exaggerated information. She wrote that “the voice of victims must be heard and must always touch our hearts. But it is equally important that fact-finders are vigilant in their search for truth.”
“While this is understandable, we have to recognize that there is a systemic challenge. The international justice system may not yet be equipped to filter out misleading information before shadows of incrimination are cast over entire nations and governments.”
Human rights groups have condemned Myanmar based on unproven statements without the due process of criminal investigation, Suu Kyi said.
She said that to provide the strongest protection for human rights, it is necessary to reform the ways in which unsubstantiated narratives are relied upon by the UN and non-governmental organizations.
The ICOE concluded that war crimes were committed during the internal armed conflict with the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army by members of Myanmar’s security forces and civilians, and recommended further domestic investigation and prosecution.
Myanmar’s government has promised to act on the commission’s recommendations, Suu Kyi said.
The report details killings of civilians, disproportionate use of force, looting of property, and destruction of homes abandoned by Rohingya, but denied that the crimes against the Rohingya had “genocidal intent”, contradicting the findings of UN investigators, Suu Kyi said.
The Mynamar leader promised investigations of civilians accused of looting or burning villages, adding that war crimes that may have been committed by members of the defense services will be prosecuted through the military justice system. But she acknowledged that ensuring accountability on the part of the armed forces would not be easy.
“It is never easy for armed forces to recognize the self-interest in accountability for their members, and then follow through with actual investigations and prosecutions. This is a common challenge around the world,” she pointed out.
Plea To Give Indigenous Justice System More Time
The Mynamar leader said that does not mean that international justice should immediately come into play, and urged that Myanmar be given more time.
“An informed assessment of Myanmar’s ability to address the issue of violations in Rakhine can only be made if adequate time is given for domestic justice to run its course. Justice can help us overcome distrust and fear, prejudice and hate, and end longstanding cycles of inter-communal violence. This has always been my goal,” she said.
The Gambia had filed a genocide case against Myanmar in November 2019 at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) for alleged human rights abuses against the Rohingya. As the case could take years, The Gambia asked the court to order that some preliminary measures be taken against Myanmar.
In December, Myanmar State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi told the World Court that it should remove the case from its list or reject The Gambia’s request that provisional measures be imposed.
However, on Thursday, the UN’s top court decided to impose urgent measures against Myanmar to protect the Rohingya’s rights and end the alleged genocide.