The International Court of Justice on Thursday ordered Myanmar to take urgent measures to protect its Muslim Rohingya population from persecution and atrocities, and preserve evidence of alleged crimes against them.
Mostly Muslim Gambia launched a lawsuit in November at the United Nations’ highest body for disputes between states, accusing Myanmar of genocide against Rohingya in violation of a 1948 convention.
Thursday’s ruling dealt only with Gambia’s request for so-called preliminary measures, the equivalent of a restraining order for states. While the court’s final decision could take years to reach, the 17 judge panel made clear in a unanimous ruling that the court believes the Rohingya are in danger now, and steps must be taken to protect them.
The Rohingya remain“at serious risk of genocide,”presiding Judge Abdulqawi Yusuf said, reading a summary the decision. Myanmar shall“take all measures within its power to prevent all acts”prohibited under the 1948 Genocide Convention, the ruling said. Myanmar must report back within four months.
It ordered the government of Myanmar to exercise influence over its military and other armed groups to prevent“killing members of the group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to the members of the group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life intended to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.”