genocide Current Affairs - 2019

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International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Rwanda Genocide

International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Rwanda Genocide was observed on 7th April on 7th April in memory of the victims of the genocide in Rwanda.

1994 Rwanda Genocide

1994 Rwanda Genocide was the genocide against the Tutsi community directed by members of the Hutu majority government during the 100-day period from 7 April to 15 July 1994.

About 85% of Rwandans were Hutus and the Tutsi minority has long dominated the country. In 1959, the Hutus overthrew the Tutsi monarchy and tens of thousands of Tutsis fled to neighbouring countries, including Uganda.

A group of these Tutsi exiles formed a rebel group, the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF). The RPF invaded Rwanda in 1990 and fighting continued until a 1993 peace deal was agreed.

On 6th April, a plane carrying then-President Juvenal Habyarimana, and his counterpart Cyprien Ntaryamira of Burundi both Hutus was shot down which killed everyone on board.

Hutu extremists blamed the RPF and immediately started a well-organised campaign of slaughter whereas the RPF said the plane had been shot down by Hutus to provide an excuse for the genocide.

Malaysia joins the International Criminal Court

Malaysia has ratified the Rome Statute making it the 124th State party to the International Criminal Court (ICC). Even though Malaysia had helped to negotiate the Rome Statute, it has been long been reluctant to ratify it. Ratification after 20 years is seen as a welcome move.

Why Malaysia has acceded to the Rome Statute after 20 years?

  • The downing of flight MH17 and the Rohingya crisis have focused Malaysia’s attention on the ICC.
  • After the election of Mahathir Mohamad for his second stint as Prime Minister in May 2018, there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy. The earlier reluctance to ratify the Rome Statute has largely stemmed from a concern that the King, as the head of the armed forces could be held responsible for crimes committed by those under his command Mahathir’s relationship with the Sultans and the King is notoriously tense. During his first period as prime minister (1981-2003), Mahathir “stripped the sultans of their power to veto state and federal legislation”, removed their legal immunities, and established a special court to prosecute royal cases.
  • The election of Mahathir and appointment of a new Attorney General, Tommy Thomas, has seen the main legal obstacles to ratification removed.
  • The ratification has also stemmed from ambition to see Malaysia playing a more active role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

International Criminal Court established by Rome Statute is a permanent international court with jurisdiction over those most responsible for committing the most serious human rights crimes: genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and the crime of aggression.