World Court Ready To Proceed Myanmar Genocide Case

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Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh in the summer of 2016.
Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims fleeing to Bangladesh in the summer of 2016. (AFP)

The World Court on Friday rejected Myanmar’s objections to a case over its treatment of the Muslim Rohingya minority.


Myanmar, now ruled by a military junta that seized power in 2021, had argued that Gambia, which brought the suit, had no standing to do so at the top U.N. court, formally known as the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

But presiding Judge Joan Donoghue said the 13 judge panel found that all members of the 1948 Genocide Convention can and are obliged to act to prevent genocide, and the court has jurisdiction in the case.

Gambia, as a state party to the Genocide convention, has standing, she said, reading a summary of the ruling.

The court will now proceed to hearing the merits of the case, a process that will take years.

Gambia, which took up the cause after its then-attorney general visited a refugee camp in Bangladesh, argues that all countries have a duty to uphold the 1948 Genocide Convention. It is backed by the 57-nation Organisation for Islamic Cooperation in a suit aiming to hold Myanmar accountable and prevent further bloodshed.


Rohingya Groups Say No Change In Their Treatment

A separate U.N. fact-finding mission concluded that a 2017 military campaign by Myanmar that drove 730,000 Rohingya into neighbouring Bangladesh had included “genocidal acts”.

While the court’s decisions are binding and countries generally follow them, it has no way of enforcing them.

In a 2020 provisional decision it ordered Myanmar to protect the Rohingya from genocide, a legal victory that established their right under international law as a protected minority.

However Rohingya groups and rights activists say there has been no meaningful attempt to end their systemic persecution and what Amnesty International has called a system of apartheid.

Rohingya are still denied citizenship and freedom of movement in Myanmar. Tens of thousands have now been confined to squalid displacement camps for a decade.


Myanmar Army's launches attack on whole Rohingya population

The most recent tensions between the Rohingya and the majority Rakhine population, mostly Buddhist, turned in 2012 into rioting, driving tens of thousands of mainly Rohingya from their homes and into squalid displacement camps. Those living in the camps are confined there and segregated from other communities.

In October 2016, following lethal attacks on police outposts by armed Rohingya in northern Rakhine State, the Myanmar army launched a military crackdown targeting the community as a whole.

 


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