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Paths Towards Justice for the Rohingya? - An Analysis of the Cases on the Rohingya and Myanmar in the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court

Runsten, Max LU (2020) JURM02 20201
Department of Law
Faculty of Law
Abstract
Atrocities against members of the Rohingya group in Myanmar have since August 2017 resulted in over 10 000 deaths and close to one million people being forced to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh. In response to these events, The Gambia instituted proceedings against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in November 2019. A few days later, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was authorized to commence investigations into alleged crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction in relation to the same events.

With focus on questions of jurisdiction, victims’ perspective and standards of proof, this essay lays out an overview of the above-mentioned processes by comparing the preconditions of the proceedings... (More)
Atrocities against members of the Rohingya group in Myanmar have since August 2017 resulted in over 10 000 deaths and close to one million people being forced to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh. In response to these events, The Gambia instituted proceedings against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in November 2019. A few days later, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was authorized to commence investigations into alleged crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction in relation to the same events.

With focus on questions of jurisdiction, victims’ perspective and standards of proof, this essay lays out an overview of the above-mentioned processes by comparing the preconditions of the proceedings before the ICJ and the ICC, in order to understand the two processes and their roles in potentially bringing justice to members of the Rohingya group in (and outside of) Myanmar, and to identify challenges in that regard.

In summary, the two processes regard different legal aspects of the same events. The ICJ will assess alleged state responsibility for violations of the Genocide Convention while the process in the ICC regards individual criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute. Questions of jurisdiction affect both processes. Especially, jurisdictional limitations, due to the fact that Myanmar is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, limit the process in the ICC as the Court in this case is limited to conduct proceedings in relation to crimes under its jurisdiction with a cross-border element. This further puts the ICJ in a position where it is the only existing international judicial court capable of dealing with alleged genocide in the present situation. Victims’ interests are, due to the different purposes of the two organs, at a starting point satisfied to a higher degree through the ICC than through the ICJ. However, this difference levels out to some degree due to the jurisdictional limitations to the ICC in the present situation. Finally, standards of proof, arguably, are similarly high in both processes.

What regards the process in the ICJ, a key challenge will be to satisfy the applicable standard of proof, especially so in relation to the alleged genocidal intent of Myanmar. What regards the process in the ICC, a key challenge will be to conduct successful proceedings in absence of state cooperation from Myanmar. Despite the uncertainties of both processes, the mere existence of them brings a high symbolic value as it shows that events like the present ones in Myanmar, at least in this case, do not go under the radar of the existing international judicial institutions. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Storskaliga våldsamheter mot medlemmar av folkgruppen Rohingya i Myanmar har sedan augusti 2017 lett till över 10 000 människors död och tvingat nära en miljon människor att fly till grannlandet Bangladesh. Som respons på händelserna inledde Gambia i november 2019 förfaranden i Internationella domstolen (ICJ) mot Myanmar och några dagar senare auktoriserades Internationella brottmålsdomstolens (ICC) chefsåklagare att inleda förundersökningar angående brott under ICC:s jurisdiktion begångna i Myanmar.

Med fokus på frågor om jurisdiktion, brottsofferperspektiv och beviskrav läggs det i den här uppsatsen fram en översikt av de båda ovannämnda processerna. Detta görs genom en jämförelse i syfte att skapa förståelse för de två processerna... (More)
Storskaliga våldsamheter mot medlemmar av folkgruppen Rohingya i Myanmar har sedan augusti 2017 lett till över 10 000 människors död och tvingat nära en miljon människor att fly till grannlandet Bangladesh. Som respons på händelserna inledde Gambia i november 2019 förfaranden i Internationella domstolen (ICJ) mot Myanmar och några dagar senare auktoriserades Internationella brottmålsdomstolens (ICC) chefsåklagare att inleda förundersökningar angående brott under ICC:s jurisdiktion begångna i Myanmar.

Med fokus på frågor om jurisdiktion, brottsofferperspektiv och beviskrav läggs det i den här uppsatsen fram en översikt av de båda ovannämnda processerna. Detta görs genom en jämförelse i syfte att skapa förståelse för de två processerna och deras respektive roller i att möjligtvis skipa rättvisa för medlemmarna av folkgruppen Rohingya, i och utanför Myanmar, samt att identifiera utmaningar i detta avseende.

Kortfattat behandlar de två processerna olika juridiska aspekter av samma händelser. ICJ kommer behandla statsansvar för påstådda brott mot Folkmordskonventionen medan processen i ICC rör individuellt straffansvar under Romstadgan. Frågor kring jurisdiktion påverkar båda processerna, men är särskilt framträdande i processen vid ICC då domstolens jurisdiktion är begränsad av det faktum att Myanmar inte är part till Romstadgan, varför ICC i detta fall enbart har jurisdiktion i fråga om brott som innehåller ett gränsöverskridande element. Detta faktum innebär vidare att ICJ är den enda existerande internationella domstol som kan hantera anklagelser om folkmord i den aktuella situationen. Brottsoffrens intressen tillgodoses, på grund av domstolarnas olika syften, som utgångspunkt till en högre grad av processen i ICC. Emellertid innebär ICC:s begränsade jurisdiktion att denna skillnad jämnas ut något då det enbart är genom processen i ICJ som brottsoffren kan hoppas på ansvarsutkrävande i förhållande till anklagelser om folkmord. Slutligen är beviskraven snarlika i de båda processerna.

Vad avser processen i ICJ kommer en nyckelutmaning vara att möta de höga beviskrav som är tillämpliga, särskilt avseende kravet på speciellt uppsåt till folkmord. Vad avser processen i ICC kommer en nyckelutmaning vara att genomföra processen utan samarbete från Myanmar. Trots de osäkerheter som råder kring de båda processernas möjlighet till ansvarsutkrävande finns det ett högt symboliskt värde redan i processernas blotta existens, detta då händelserna i Myanmar inte kommer gå obemärkta förbi de existerande internationella juridiska organen. (Less)
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author
Runsten, Max LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20201
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
public international law, international criminal law, Myanmar, Rohingya, Bangladesh, International Court of Justice, International Criminal Court
language
English
id
9010898
date added to LUP
2020-06-15 11:54:12
date last changed
2020-06-15 11:54:12
@misc{9010898,
  abstract     = {Atrocities against members of the Rohingya group in Myanmar have since August 2017 resulted in over 10 000 deaths and close to one million people being forced to flee into neighbouring Bangladesh. In response to these events, The Gambia instituted proceedings against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in November 2019. A few days later, the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) was authorized to commence investigations into alleged crimes under the ICC’s jurisdiction in relation to the same events. 

With focus on questions of jurisdiction, victims’ perspective and standards of proof, this essay lays out an overview of the above-mentioned processes by comparing the preconditions of the proceedings before the ICJ and the ICC, in order to understand the two processes and their roles in potentially bringing justice to members of the Rohingya group in (and outside of) Myanmar, and to identify challenges in that regard. 

In summary, the two processes regard different legal aspects of the same events. The ICJ will assess alleged state responsibility for violations of the Genocide Convention while the process in the ICC regards individual criminal responsibility under the Rome Statute. Questions of jurisdiction affect both processes. Especially, jurisdictional limitations, due to the fact that Myanmar is not a State Party to the Rome Statute, limit the process in the ICC as the Court in this case is limited to conduct proceedings in relation to crimes under its jurisdiction with a cross-border element. This further puts the ICJ in a position where it is the only existing international judicial court capable of dealing with alleged genocide in the present situation. Victims’ interests are, due to the different purposes of the two organs, at a starting point satisfied to a higher degree through the ICC than through the ICJ. However, this difference levels out to some degree due to the jurisdictional limitations to the ICC in the present situation. Finally, standards of proof, arguably, are similarly high in both processes.

What regards the process in the ICJ, a key challenge will be to satisfy the applicable standard of proof, especially so in relation to the alleged genocidal intent of Myanmar. What regards the process in the ICC, a key challenge will be to conduct successful proceedings in absence of state cooperation from Myanmar. Despite the uncertainties of both processes, the mere existence of them brings a high symbolic value as it shows that events like the present ones in Myanmar, at least in this case, do not go under the radar of the existing international judicial institutions.},
  author       = {Runsten, Max},
  keyword      = {public international law,international criminal law,Myanmar,Rohingya,Bangladesh,International Court of Justice,International Criminal Court},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Paths Towards Justice for the Rohingya? - An Analysis of the Cases on the Rohingya and Myanmar in the International Court of Justice and the International Criminal Court},
  year         = {2020},
}