The judges at the United Nations at the International Court of justice (ICJ) have asked the MS Aung Suu Kui president of Myanmar to stop the continuing Genocide of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar. The judgment is based on the 46-page application being submitted to the international court of justice by the Gambia on behalf of the organization of Islamic Cooperation, alleging Myanmar has carried out mass murder, rape, and destruction of Rohingya communities in Rakhine state. The application has been drafted with the help of Prof. Phillip Sands QC, who has written the book tracing the origins of the genocide convention.
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This is the first time the court in Hague has investigated genocide claims on its own without relying on the findings of other tribunals, such as the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which is consulted for claims against Serbia and Croatia. It has been supported by other Muslim states. It is the first time that Myanmar will be tried in an international legal attempt in which Gambia has filed an application on November 11, 2019, at ICJ accusing Myanmar of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention.
According to the application “In October 2016, Myanmar’s military began what it described as “clearance Operation” against the Rohingya, the genocidal acts committed during these operations were intended to destroy the Rohingya as group by the use of murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as systematic destruction by torching their villages to ground, when often the inhabitants were locked inside the burning houses.
The application further mentions that “ in early hours of 9 October 2016, a small number of Rohingya, armed mainly with sticks, knives and few firearms, reacting to Myanmar’s persecution of the group, attacked the three border guard police posts in northern Rakhine state”.
In reaction Myanmar military forces began “clearance operations” with a systematically shot, killed, forced disappearances, gang-raped, sexually assaulted, detained, beat and tortured Rohingya civilians, burned down Rohingya homes, mosques, madrassas, shops and Qurans. The Rohingya Muslims make up only 5% of the population even before the majority of them were expelled from the country. But ultranationalist Buddhist Monks like Ashin Wirathu believe Myanmar as a peaceful Buddhist country land being overrun by Muslims. Ashin Wirathu has been traveling the country delivering diatribes against Rohingya Muslims, which has led to widespread hatred among the masses against the Muslim minority.
Myanmar president and Nobel Laureate Aug San Suu Kyi, says that the operations were carried legitimately as a counter against “insurgents or terrorists” which may be a possible use of disproportionate force but not genocide. She insisted that foreign observers have to organize a year’s long campaign of atrocities against Rohingyas being exaggerated and is constructed, whether out of malice or just ignorance and went on being offensive against the outside world. Even she did not use the word Rohingya adhering to her government’s stance that no such ethnic group existed terming genocide internet only a hypothesis, instead claimed that her government was trying to lift the community from dire poverty.
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In her defense, she stated that the violence that had happened was set off by coordinated attacks on police and army posts by a Rohingya Muslim militant organization the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), ( a group previously known as Harakah al –Yaqin), and the operation was used to “clear locality of insurgents or terrorists”. She further went on defending her stance by saying “If was crimes have been committed, they will be persecuted within our military justice system”. Coincidently Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi’s party will be facing elections next year and her attitude of whipping nationalism has earned her a wide support in her country among the people.
Rohingya Muslims have been persecuted for decades in Buddhist majority Myanmar, gradually losing rights to education, health care, and even citizenship. Half a million Rohingyas are still living in Rakhine, but they have been herded into concentration camps, prevented from leaving their villages, even to farm or collect firewood. Those who fled to Bangladesh are crowded into the world’s largest refugee camp. Some of them sought asylum in South East Asian nations of Thailand, The Philippines, Indonesia, and Malaysia.
The atrocities were first time exposed to the world by two reporters employed by Reuter’s news agency, Wa Lone, 33 and Kyaw Soe Oo, 29. The investigation by both journalists on the Inn Dinn massacre, for their in-depth reporting that exposed the massacre of 10 Rohingya Muslims earned them a Pulitzer Prize. It is the only case of abuse acknowledged by Myanmar authorities.
Although the Rohingya Muslims have been living in Myanmar for generations, Myanmar considers them as persons who migrated to their land during Colonial rule. So, the country has not granted Rohingyas full citizenship. According to the 1982 Burmese citizenship law, a Rohingya (or any ethnic minority) is eligible for citizenship only if he/she provides proof that his/ her ancestors have lived in the country before 1823. Else, they are classified as “resident foreigners” or as “associate citizens” (even if one of the parents is a Myanmar citizen). Since that law strips them from any citizenship rights, they are not entitled to be a part of civil service. Their movement is also restricted within the Rakhine State.
Several world leaders, human rights groups, countries, Rohingya survivors have condemned the atrocities led by Buddhist Regime. According to Antonia Mulvey founder of Legal Action Worldwide and an expert on international human rights, refugee and criminal law said: “the final judgment can take a long time up to five years, but for victims, the Rohingya Muslims it sends a very strong message that the international community is watching and listening to them”.