Indonesia’s dark role in the Rohingya massacre: a legal case at the ICJ has exposed the role of Indonesian arms sales that were crucial to enabling Myanmar to kill thousands of civilians, reports Tom Sykes

Research output: Contribution to specialist publicationArticle


Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, stands accused by lawyers and human rights activists of selling arms to Myanmar that were used to kill at least 25,000 mostly Muslim Rohingya people between 2016 and 2017 (although the oppression of this group and many others is ongoing).

The genocide is one of the most egregious instances of Islamophobia in recent history and prompted all 57 member states of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation to launch a case against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice in 2019.

But for three Indonesian state-run arms companies — PT PAL, PT Pindad and PT Dirgantara — turning a tidy profit has been a higher priority than religious or cultural solidarity, let alone simple humanity.

Sponsored by human rights advocates including Marzuki Darusman, ex-attorney general of Indonesia and the Myanmar Accountability Project (MAP), whose executive director is former UN special co-ordinator for the Middle East Peace Process Chris Gunness, the current complaint lodged last October with the Indonesian Human Rights Commission alleges that Jakarta supplied the Myanmar dictatorship with assault rifles, handguns, military vehicles and other kit that enabled the annihilation and displacement of Rohingyas in their native Rakhine State in the west of the country.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Specialist publicationMorning Star
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2024


  • arms trade
  • Asian studies
  • politics
  • International Relations
  • journalism
  • Southeast Asia

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