ICJ orders Myanmar to prevent Rohingya genocide

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News:The International Court of Justice(ICJ) has unanimously ordered Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide of Rohingyas in Myanmar.

Facts:

About Rohingya crisis:

  • Rohingya are an ethnic group largely comprising Muslims who predominantly live in the Western Myanmar province of Rakhine.
  • They have their own language and culture and say they are descendants of Arab traders and other groups who have been in the region for generations.
  • But the government of Myanmar denies the Rohingya citizenship and even excluded them from the 2014 census refusing to recognise them as a people.It sees them as illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
  • Hence,lakhs of Rohingyas have fled to neighbouring countries like Bangladesh and India after facing religious and ethnical persecution in Myanmar.
  • This has led to a historic migration crisis and a large humanitarian crisis.

What did the Court ordered?

  • The judges have voted unanimously to order Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent genocide of Rohingyas.
  • These measures include the prevention of killing, and causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group as well as preserving evidence of possible genocide that has already occurred.
  • The measures are binding and not subject to appeal but the court has no means of enforcing them.

About ICJ:

  • The International Court of Justice(ICJ) was established in 1945 by the United Nations charter.
  • It is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations situated at the Peace Palace in The Hague (Netherlands).
  • The ICJ has two primary functions a) to settle legal disputes submitted by States in accordance with established international laws and b) to act as an advisory board on issues submitted to it by authorized international organizations.

Structure of ICJ:

  • It is composed of 15 judges elected to nine-year terms of office by the United Nations General Assembly and the Security Council.
  • In order to be elected, a candidate must receive an absolute majority of the votes in both UN bodies.
  • The 15 judges of the Court are distributed in the following regions a) Three from Africa b) Two from Latin America and Caribbean c) Three from Asia d) Five from Western Europe and other states and e) Two from Eastern Europe.
  • Further,to ensure a measure of continuity, one third of the Court is elected every three years and Judges are eligible for re-election.