CSW welcomes the UK government’s confirmation that they will intervene in the case to determine whether the Myanmar/Burma army is responsible for the crime of genocide against the Rohingya people at the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
The announcement was made by the UK’s Minister for Asia Amanda Milling on 25 August, the fifth anniversary of the date on which the Myanmar military, also known as the Tatmadaw, launched sweeping attacks on Rohingya villages and civilians which resulted in over 700,000 people fleeing to Bangladesh, thousands killed, and hundreds of villages burned.
In November 2019 The Gambia filed a case at the ICJ which alleged that the Tatmadaw’s campaign against the Rohingya people amounted to genocide. 60 countries supported the case, namely Canada, the Netherlands, the UK and all 57 members of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The case was filed more than a year after an Independent International Fact-Finding Mission established by the UN Human Rights Council claimed to have documented evidence of genocide, and in January 2020 the ICJ issued a ruling ordering the government of Myanmar to take immediate “provisional measures” to prevent genocide against the Rohingya. On 22 July 2022 the ICJ rejected four preliminary objections raised by Myanmar and ruled that the case could proceed.
In addition to declaring their intention to intervene in the ICJ case, the UK also announced on 25 August that it would be implementing a further round of sanctions to target military-linked businesses in Myanmar.
Meanwhile, the European Union, and the Foreign Ministers of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States issued a joint statement which called on the international community to “help to ensure justice for Rohingya victims, support host communities, and foster conditions that will allow for the safe, voluntary, dignified, and sustainable return to their communities.”
Additionally, CSW has joined 383 civil society organisations in signing onto a statement which urges the international community to expedite efforts to hold the Tatmadaw to account and end the impunity they have enjoyed over the past five years.
CSW’s Senior Analyst for East Asia Benedict Rogers said: “CSW welcomes the UK’s commitment to intervening in the Rohingya genocide case at the ICJ, and we hope that this will assist in bringing a swift and just outcome for a people who have suffered so severely for so long. We call on other members of the international community to follow suit, ensuring that the Myanmar military is held fully accountable for its egregious crimes and that justice is fully served. We also continue to call on the United Nations Security Council to refer the situation to the International Criminal Court to enable further scrutiny.”