Burma Times: Mohamed Ibrahim, 7 June 2015
Sympathisers of Rohingya Muslims are calling on the military regime of Myanmar to face justice in the International Criminal Court (ICC). As international spotlight focuses on the plight of Rohingya Muslims in light of the migrant crisis, there can be little doubt that the regime is continuing acts of genocide against the beleaguered community. After the riots of 2012, many people especially in the West hoped the reformist government will put a brake to the anti Rohingya pogrom. The pictures of destitute migrants braving torture and death on the high seas confirm that in the three years that have passed, this has not been the case.
Genocide is defined in article 2 of the Genocide Convention as acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnic, racial or religious group. By this definition it seems the Myanmar government is guilty of carrying out genocide against the Rohingya Muslims. There are numerous incidents happening in Rakhine state to confirm that genocide is the intent of the regime.
Myanmar is guilty of committing three of four acts mentioned in article 2 of the Genocide Convention: killing members of the group; causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group and deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part and imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group.
Under Article VIII of the Genocide Convention, any contracting party may call upon the competent organs of the UN to “take such action under the Charter of the United Nations as they consider appropriate for the prevention and suppression of acts of genocide or any of the other acts enumerated in Article III”.
Though Myanmar is not a signatory of the Rome Statute but the United Nations Security Council can refer the Rohingya issue to the ICC under Chapter VII of the UN Charter — principally Article 39, read together with Articles 41 and 42.
It is only very belatedly that the UN Security Council got its first briefing on the Rohingya Muslims last week. But better late than never. Now is the time for the international community to act through the United Nations and bring the regime to justice.
Many people are pessimistic about the Security Council acting against the Myanmar regime. Here the case of Yugoslavia should be considered. When Yugoslavia carried out ethnic cleansing pogroms, the Security Council under Chapter VII of the UN Charter passed Resolution 780, noting that “mass killings” and “ethnic cleansing” mandated the creation of an “Impartial Commission of Experts” to investigate the crimes. The Security Council then created the International Criminal Tribunal under Resolution 827.
There is always the chance that permanent members of the Security Council can block these attempts. China and Russia due to their historic ties with the Myanmar regime can block these proposals. Recently, when the UN Security Council got its first ever briefing on Rohingyas, China made the excuse that it was not for anyone to meddle in the internal affairs of Myanmar. Russia said that the Security Council is not an appropriate platform for human rights.
The again if history is a guide, there is always the chance that he permanent members, instead of vetoing a resolution on Myanmar might just abstain from any vote. The people of the world should stand united in face of genocide committed against Rohingya Muslims and press for justice through the internationally recognised systems before it is too late.
Mohamed Ibrahim is Rohingya Activist lives in Germany. He can be reached at +49 15209 444880 email: email@example.com . Twitter: @ibrahimdubashi