Why in news?
Recently, the International Court of
Justice (ICJ) ruled that Myanmar must
take effective measures to protect its
Rohingya Muslims, including protecting
evidence relating to allegations of
About the ruling
• ICJ ruled that it has the right and
the preliminary jurisdiction to hear
a case seeking emergency measures to prevent Myanmar from committing genocide against its Rohingya
It ordered Myanmar to
take all measures in its
power to prevent
genocide against the
• Along with giving
orders, the court also
ordered that Myanmar
shall submit a report
to the ICJ on all
measures taken to give
effect to the order
within four months,
and thereafter every six months, until a final decision is passed.
• In November 2019, the Republic of the Gambia moved the ICJ against Myanmar over alleged violations of
the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
o Both Gambia and Myanmar are parties to the Genocide Convention that allows a party to move the ICJ
for violations of the convention under article 9 of the Convention.
o Gambia was backed by the 57-member Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
• Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi in response stated that the army may have used “disproportionate
force” against some terrorist groups, however, there is no proof the army was trying to wipe out the
Implications of the ICJ Ruling
• The ICJ’s ruling meant that a global legal body for the first time officially recognized the real threat of abuse
against the Rohingya.
• Although a ruling against Myanmar dents its image internationally, the order of provisional measures does
not translate into a finding against Myanmar. The court is not required to ascertain whether Myanmar
violated the Genocide Convention.
• Provisional measures are essentially a restraining order against a state when a case is pending in the court.
Though, the ruling of the court is binding on Myanmar, and cannot be appealed, there are no means
available to the court to enforce it.
About the Rohingya crisis
• Described by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres as “one of the most discriminated people in the
world”, the Rohingya are one of Myanmar’s many ethnic minorities.
• Rohingya Muslims represent the largest percentage of Muslims in Myanmar, with the majority living in the
coastal Rakhine state.
• Myanmar Nationality Law 1982 denied citizenship to Rohingya population, making them the largest
stateless population in the world.
• It does not recognise the community as its citizens and considers them “illegal immigrants” from
• An estimated 7.3 lakh Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh and other neighbouring countries, since 2017 when
the Myanmar military acted against Rohingya villages.
• In August 2019, the UN said the army’s action was carried out with “genocidal intent” and has described the
violence against them as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing.”
• Myanmar has stoutly denied all allegations of genocide, mass rape, killings and arson against its army and
declared that the soldiers carried out legitimate counterterrorism operations.