The International Criminal Court has asserted its jurisdiction to take cognisance of the crimes committed under its statute by the Myanmar military against the Rohingyas. This must be welcomed by all those who want to see the end of persecution of minorities in the world. In the case of the Rohingyas, they were brutalised to a degree that has come to be acknowledged as a “textbook example of ethnic cleansing” and the cruel security campaign against an ethnic minority was in clear violation of international law, which forced nearly a million of them to leave their country and their ancestral homes in northern Rakhine and seek refuge in Bangladesh.
The ruling is also an acknowledgment of the reality on the ground. The facts have been unearthed by several international agencies and there is little doubt that the atrocities by the Myanmar forces meet the description of genocide. The truth cannot be swept under the carpet and neither can international norms be disregarded through misrepresentation and obliquity, as Myanmar continues to do.
The ruling opens the avenue for initiating further investigation into the atrocities carried out by the Myanmar military and for calling them to account for the persecution of Rohingyas. The ICC should proceed from here, and all that is necessary must be done by other international agencies to put up an incontrovertible case against the Myanmar military junta to bring them, as well as the political leadership, for its complicity in the persecution of Rohingyas, to justice.
The Security Council must fulfil its duty towards the persecuted minority by referring Myanmar to the ICC. We implore all the members to rise above their petty national interests and realise that if a human tragedy such as that of the Rohingyas, perpetrated by human beings, goes unpunished, it will encourage similar treatment of minorities in other parts of the world in the future.