The United Nation's highest court has ordered Myanmar to prevent genocide from being committed against the Rohingya Muslim minority on January 23. The International court of justice ordered the country to take emergency “provisional measures” and urged to halt all persecution of the ethnic group including killing, raping, and destroying homes and villages. Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, the court's president said that the ICJ “is of the opinion that the Rohingya in Myanmar remain extremely vulnerable.”
It was a unanimous decision when the court also ruled that it has the authority to consider a genocide case against Myanmar by creating “international legal obligations” on the country. ICJ has ordered Myanmar to “take effective measures to prevent the destruction and ensure the preservation of evidence related” to its acts against the Muslim minority.
A Rohingya activist, Yasmin Ullah who currently lives in Canada was reportedly present in the court for the historic ruling and hailed the judges saying it “means so much to” the community. After nearly an hour-long session at the Great Hall of Justice, judges have also asked the country to report back in four months with the measures Myanmar has taken to comply with the court's orders. After these four months, the ICJ has ordered the country to report back after every six months through the world court.
“Today, having the judges unanimously agree to the protection of Rohingya means so much to us because we’re now allowed to exist and it’s legally binding,” she told reporters on the steps of the court
“This is good news. We thank the court as it has reflected our hope for justice. The verdict proves that Myanmar has become a nation of torturers,” 39-year-old Abdul Jalil told an international agency through the phone.
However, Jalil also added, “Myanmar has become a notorious state. We do not have confidence in it. There is little chance that Myanmar will listen.”
Nearly 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee into camps in Bangladesh after the military of Myanmar launched a violent crackdown on the group in 2017. This, according to the UN officials was 'genocide'. This case in the International Court of Justice was the first legal attempt by the peace-making body to bring the country into justice over the crisis. It was also a rare example of a country suing another over an issue to which it is not directly a party. The tiny west African state of The Gambia, which is acting on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Corporation asked the court to halt the 'ongoing genocidal actions'.