01/23/2020, 15.18
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Court in The Hague calls for action to prevent a Rohingya ‘genocide'

The panel of 17 judges ruled unanimously. Myanmar must protect the ethnic group, prevent killings and physical and mental damage as well as submit a report within four months. Aung San Suu Kyi says refugees have exaggerated the abuse against them.

The Hague (AsiaNews) – The International Court of Justice (ICJ) has ordered Myanmar to take “all measures within its power” to prevent the genocide of Rohingya Muslims.

In a unanimous decision, a panel of 17 judges ruled that Myanmar must take all steps within its power to protect the ethnic group, including the prevention of killing as well as “serious bodily or mental harm" to members of the group. Myanmar authorities must also submit a report within four months.

The case was brought to the ICJ by the Government of Gambia, one of the few Muslim-majority countries that came to the Rohingya’s defence.

In 2017, following clashes between the Myanmar army and armed Rohingya groups, hundreds of thousands of Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh or sought refuge elsewhere, often without success. During their flights, thousands were killed and raped.

United Nations investigators concluded that the military campaign was carried out with “genocidal intent”.

At last month's public hearings in The Hague, Myanmar State Counsellor (Prime Minister) Aung San Suu Kyi, an iconic human rights defender, rejected the charge of genocide against her country and described the picture presented by the Gambian government to the Court as “incomplete and incorrect”.

On the Financial Times, she admitted today that war crimes may have been committed against the Rohingya, but that the refugees have exaggerated the abuse against them.

She said that Myanmar was the victim of “unsubstantiated narratives” by human rights groups and UN investigators and the country could itself punish perpetrators without the intervention of the international court.

Rulings by the court in the Hague are not subject to appeal, but the latter has means of enforcing them.

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