The International Commission of Jurists welcomes today’s Order of the International Court of Justice (Court) in the case of The Gambia v Myanmar indicating provisional measures to protect the rights of the persecuted Rohingya minority under the Genocide Convention and calls on Myanmar to implement the Order without delay.
“The Order is a significant step towards justice for the Rohingya as it imposes specific, legally-binding, obligations on Myanmar to take critical steps to protect their rights under the Genocide Convention,” said Sam Zarifi, Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists, currently in Yangon, Myanmar. “It is now incumbent on the whole international community, including States, civil society and UN agencies, to urge and assist Myanmar to fulfil its obligations under the Order.”
In its Order, delivered orally, the Court found it had prima facie jurisdiction over the case and indicated a series of provisional measures, including that Myanmar must:
Provisional measures are orders the Court has the power to make aimed at preserving the rights of the Parties to a case pending the final decision of the Court in order to avoid irreparable damage to the rights which are the subject of the dispute, in this case the rights of the Rohingya.
A hearing on the merits of the case will be heard at a later date.
The role of the Court is to settle disputes submitted to it by States in accordance with international law – its role does not extend to determining the criminal responsibility of individuals for perpetrating serious human rights violations.
“As Myanmar is unwilling and unable to conduct investigations and, where appropriate, prosecutions of serious human rights violations domestically which meet international law and standards, the various processes underway around the world directed towards criminal accountability- including the investigation of the International Criminal Court – remain necessary and urgent,” added Zarifi.
In 2018, the International Commission of Jurists issued a baseline study of the obstacles to accountability for serious human rights violations in Myanmar identifying “systematic impunity” within the country as a result of the “lack of accountability of perpetrators of human rights violations; lack of access to effective remedies and reparation for victims; and ongoing challenges with the independence and accountability of justice actors.”
International processes underway around the world directed at criminal accountability for serious human rights violations in the Myanmar situation include:
Sam Zarifi, Secretary General of the International Commission of Jurists, t: +41 79 726 4415; e: sam.zarifi(a)icj.org
Kingsley Abbott, Coordinator of the ICJ’s Global Accountability Initiative, t: +66 94 470 1345; e: kingsley.abbott(a)icj.org