We, Women’s Peace Network, welcome the International Court of Justice’s ruling on the preliminary objections from The Gambia v Myanmar.
The Court’s decision to reject these objections marks a momentous step towards the justice that the Rohingya, as well as other ethnic and religious minority groups in Myanmar, have striven for decades.
We hope that this case, which is before the highest court in the world, will prevent the military from perpetrating further atrocities across Myanmar.
Over a year after overthrowing an elected government, the military continues to wield sexual violence, scorched earth tactics, and other brutal acts – many of which were noted by The Gambia in this ICJ case. The military’s recent measures to further confine Rohingya in camps and prisons indicate that over 600,000 of them remaining in Myanmar may be subjected to more atrocities in the near future.
We fear that, in the case of Myanmar, the procedural obstacles that have often marred the international criminal justice system only embolden the military to intensify its decades-long brutality. And for the Rohingya, such obstacles to accelerating efforts for their justice only prolong their collective trauma – as well as their safe and dignified return home to, and future in, Myanmar.
Therefore, we urge the international community to immediately pursue further actions to protect these victims and survivors of genocide and help achieve their justice. Governments must join the ICJ case against the Rohingya genocide, support universal jurisdiction to prosecute the military, and provide sustainable forms of assistance to the over one million Rohingya refugees for their rehabilitation and recovery.
Countries must also expedite their efforts to bring criminal accountability to Myanmar. This process should entail their official recognition of the Rohingya genocide and atrocities committed against other ethnic and religious minorities in Myanmar; as well as the UN Security Council’s actions to uphold its mandate, such as adopting a resolution referring the country’s situation to the International Criminal Court.
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All such actions to address the needs and concerns of Rohingya must respect their agency, dignity and humanity.