LONDON: A ruling by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) forcing Myanmar to take “provisional measures” to prevent genocidal acts against the Rohingya community “sends a message” to the country’s leadership, according to Amnesty International.
Nicholas Bequelin, the group’s regional director, said in a report published on Thursday that the ICJ decision shows that the world “would not tolerate atrocities” or “blindly accept Myanmar’s empty rhetoric on the reality in Rakhine State today.”
He added: “An estimated 600,000 Rohingya who remain there are routinely and systematically denied their most basic rights. They face a real risk of further atrocities. Myanmar must comply with the ICJ’s ruling and take immediate action to cease ongoing violations against the community and to prevent the destruction of evidence.”
In November, Gambia filed a case at the ICJ, accusing Myanmar of breaching its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.
The complaint included the request for the court to order “provisional measures” to prevent acts that “may amount to or contribute to the crime of genocide.”
Bequelin said: “The decision comes just days after Myanmar published a summary report of the findings of the government-established ‘Independent Commission of Enquiry’. The Commission was neither independent nor impartial and cannot be considered a credible effort to investigate these crimes against the Rohingya.”
He added: “Meanwhile, there have been no efforts to investigate the serious and wide-ranging violations against other ethnic minorities or elsewhere in the country.”
Amnesty International urged the UN to take action and refer the situation in Myanmar to the International Criminal Court.
But Dr. Azeem Ibrahim, director at the Center for Global Policy, told Arab News that officials in Myanmar are “unlikely” to take any notice of the ICJ ruling, and will “take the usual position” of not recognizing the court’s legitimacy.
However, Ibrahim said Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi “miscalculated” by attending The Hague, thus legitimizing the court.
Her decision to base her entire argument against the accusations on there being no genocide, but admitting that war crimes had been committed, had “backfired,” he added.
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“Officials in Myanmar will be hoping that China will now protect them at the UN Security Council and buy them more time,” Ibrahim said.
“The only other option would be if the (UN) secretary-general intervenes,” he added while saying there had been little desire on Guterres’ part to do so.
In an Arab News column on Jan. 24, Ibrahim wrote that sanctions remain the West’s last form of leverage in forcing Myanmar to stop its actions against the Rohingya.
But he told Arab News on Friday that the EU is unlikely to impose sanctions because so far, it has been “unable to speak with a unified voice” on the issue.