ICJ verdict: A victory for humanity

25 January, 2020 12:00 AM printer

The truth has triumphed over evil headed by Aung San Suu Kyi. The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in a momentous and unanimous decision has said Rohingyas in Myanmar were subject to genocide by the Myanmar military.

The landmark decision by the ICJ at The Hague was a slap on the face of Suu Kyi and her government for it tried to deny one of the worst genocides against the minority Muslim Rohingyas, but victory was for the truth.

The United Nations highest court ordered Myanmar to carry out emergency, “provisional” measures, intervening in the country’s domestic affairs by instructing that country to respect the requirements of the 1948 genocide convention as “prima facie” evidence of breaches of the convention or genocide has been found.

The court also found the estimated 600,000 Rohingya remaining in Myanmar were “extremely vulnerable” to violence at the hands of the military and “remain in serious risk of genocide.”

The unanimous ruling by a panel of 17 judges is the first international court ruling against Myanmar over its military’s brutal treatment on the Rohingya.

The ruling is not only a victory of humanity and Rohingyas, it is a major moral victory for Bangladesh which has sheltered nearly 10 lakh citizens of Myanmar who fled their country to escape “ethnic cleansing” and “genocide” by the Myanmar government.

The ruling is apparently a rejection of Suu Kyi’s defence of her military against accusations of systematic human rights abuses and war crimes during a three-day hearing at the ICJ last month.

Since The Gambia filed the case to ICJ hopes were pinned that, once the verdict is declared, Myanmar will have to bow its head in shame for such blatant lies.

The ICJ only hears cases brought by one state against another and any member of the United Nations can request action from the Security Council based on the highest court’s rulings.

Thus it is time for the international community to act seriously and quickly to end the crimes against humanity in Myanmar, condemn the country in all multinational platforms and pave the way for early return of the Rohingyas sheltered in camps in Bangladesh. For a country like Bangladesh, it has taken burden to ensure safety of the Rohingyas for two years, but the world must realise a humanitarian gesture cannot be forever. Let us unite against genocide, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleansing so that such acts are never repeated anywhere in the future.