Recent ruling of international court of Justice takes Rohingya closer to Justice

Shahabuddin Khaled Chowdhury

Shahabuddin Khaled Chowdhury
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Gambia, an African country filed an application on November 11, 2019 Against Myanmar under international genocide Convention for the alleged genocide committed against the ethnic Rohingya was challenged by Myanmar on the grounds of court’s jurisdiction and at the same time Gambia’s legal standing for filing the case was also challenged.

After a long and comprehensive hearing, the international court of Justice rejected Myanmar's objection and allowed the case to proceed on merits and the court also is of the opinion that Gambia did not violate any law it has strong legal standing for filing such case against Myanmar oppressed Rohingya of Myanmar may be hopeful because undoubtedly, they are one crucial step forward to Justice because of recent ruling of the international court of Justice.

This decision of ICJ, from all points of view is the most important and a comprehensive step because it was an overdue reckoning with the Myanmar military’s atrocities against the Rohingya of course, there is no doubt that the system of icj is a long and complex process which will surely take a long time to reach the conclusion but it is beyond doubt that Myanmar's military Janta is undoubtedly is in right hand for the first time to get lawful punishment for their cruel barbarous and in human acts against a helpless ethnic group of their own motherland.

As far as the reaction of Myanmar indicated that after a long time, the ruling junta could realize the gravity of the situation created by the ruling of the world court. A statement of the ministry of the international co-operation and published by the news portal "Myawaddy " owned by the army where it is stated, " Myanmar is disappointed that its preliminary objection was rejected, while it notes that the court has now determined the matter.

Then the court admits, " Myanmar noted that this judgement will become not only a source of international law, but it will also set  a precedent for future cases of similar nature". The statement also said, " Myanmar reaffirms its position in a declaration over the ratification of the Convention and respects its obligation under the Convention without any violation of them.

However, the ministry of Myanmar with horrible frustration concluded its statement with a definite commitment where it said, “It will endeavor its utmost efforts to safeguard the country’s sovereignty and national interest and continue to undertake appropriate and necessary steps for the country & quot.

At first, Myanmar raised four objections including objection to the jurisdiction of the international court of Justice. " As thecourt lacked jurisdiction, the application was inadmissible on the ground that the real applicant was the Organization of Islamic co-operation (OIC).

2nd objection of Myanmar is that Gambia has no legal standing to bring this case. Myanmar also pleaded that the court itself lacked jurisdiction, hence the application is inadmissible because of the fact that there was no dispute what so ever between the parties under genocide Convention on the date of filing of the application.

The court unanimously rejected the preliminary objections raised by Myanmar and regarding Gambia's standing for submitting the case, the court also rejected the objections by a 15 -1 vote. It is interesting and important to note. That both the ad-hoc judges representing the Gambia and Myanmar were in agreement with the majority of the court.

After Gambia's application ICJ started to take provisional measures on Myanmar so that govt of Myanmar takes appropriate measures related to the alleged atrocities and submit periodical reports to the court at regular interval until the final decision of the case pending in the court.

The ICJ in its latest verdict admitted that Myanmar govt indeed submitted reports according to the directions of the ICJ regularly. The significance of ICJ's order was not only related to the protection of oppressed ethnic group but by this order ICJ the recognition of Rohingyas proved not identical but the recognition of the Rohingyas as a distinct ethnic group in Myanmar.

According to ICJ, Myanmar is maintaining its obligation to the ICJ. It is undoubtedly a good news. The most unfortunate situation is that there has not been any progress at all in repatriation of the Rohingyas from Bangladesh to Myanmar.

So far Myanmar terribly failed to create an environment for a safe and dignified return of Rohingya to Myanmar. The ICJ's decision to proceed on genocide allegations against Myanmar will create necessary pressure on Myanmar and its army.