Top UN court orders Myanmar to submit report every 6 weeks

Sun Online Desk

23rd January, 2020 06:12:00 printer

Top UN court orders Myanmar to submit report every 6 weeks

The UN's top court ordered Myanmar on Thursday to submit report back on the actions it has taken within four months, and then every six months after that.

The court also told Myanmar to take urgent steps to prevent the alleged genocide of the Buddhist nation's minority Rohingya Muslims.

The order was the first time that Myanmar has faced justice over a 2017 military crackdown that sent around 740,000 Rohingya fleeing into neighbouring Bangladesh.

The International Court of Justice in The Hague granted a series of emergency steps requested by the mainly Muslim African state of The Gambia under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

Presiding judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said Myanmar must "take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts" described by the convention.

These included "killing members of the group" and "deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part."

He added that the "court was of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable."

The Gambia asked for the measures pending a full case that could take years.

The court -- set up after World War II as the UN's top judicial organ to rule in disputes between nations -- had earlier ruled for the first time that it had jurisdiction in the case.

Myanmar's civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi travelled to The Hague in December to personally defend her country against allegations of widespread rape, arson and mass killings.

The ICJ's orders are binding but it has no power to enforce them. However the "significance... shouldn't be written off," said Cecily Rose, assistant professor in international law at Leiden University in the Netherlands.

"The court's orders and judgments tend to carry relatively great authority or legitimacy. Even though the situation in Myanmar is highly political and fragile, international law still plays a role by informing decision-making among international actors," she told AFP.