UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News

Myanmar

ICJ orders Myanmar to prevent Rohingya genocide

Ruling by UN's top court rejects Aung San Suu Kyi's defense of her country's military

UCA News reporter

UCA News reporter

Updated: January 23, 2020 10:42 AM GMT
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
ICJ orders Myanmar to prevent Rohingya genocide

Myanmar's State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi waves to supporters on arriving back in Myanmar on Dec. 14 after defending her country's military against genocide charges at the International Court of Justice. (Photo: Thet Aung/AFP)

Share this article :
The United Nations’ highest court today ordered measures to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

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

In a momentous and unanimous decision by a panel of 17 judges, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague ordered Myanmar to carry out emergency provisional measures and to respect the requirements of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The court found there was prima facie evidence of breaches of the convention and ruled that the estimated 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Myanmar are “extremely vulnerable” to violence at the hands of the military.

The judgment amounts to a rejection of Suu Kyi’s defense of her country against accusations of systematic human rights abuses and war crimes during a three-day hearing at the ICJ last month.

The case was brought by the Gambia, a Muslim-majority African state that accused Myanmar of breaching the Genocide Convention.

Today’s ruling dealt only with the Gambia’s request for preliminary measures, the equivalent of a restraining order for states. It gave no indication of the court’s final decision, which could take years to reach.

The ICJ said Myanmar must now take all steps within its power to prevent serious harm to Rohingya and report back within four months.

Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Marie Tambadou told the court in December: “Another genocide is unfolding right before our eyes, yet we do nothing to stop it. This is a stain on our collective conscience. It’s not only the state of Myanmar that is on trial here, it’s our collective humanity that is being put on trial.”

In her appearance before the court, Suu Kyi described the violence as an "internal armed conflict" triggered by Rohingya militant attacks on government security posts.

The complaint is one of the first attempts to use the international justice system to help the estimated 730,000 Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar following military clearance operations in Rakhine state in 2017.

Six of Myanmar’s most senior army officers have been accused of genocide by a UN fact-finding mission and recommended for criminal prosecution.

Once an international icon representing peaceful defiance of military dictatorship, 74-year-old Suu Kyi has been savagely criticized for defending her country’s army over the Rohingya exodus.

She appealed to ICJ judges to dismiss allegations that Myanmar committed genocide and instead allow the country’s court martial system to deal with any human rights abuses.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution