Myanmar genocide case hearing next month: UN court...

Dhaka, Friday   27 November 2020

Myanmar genocide case hearing next month: UN court

 International Desk

 Published: 12:17 PM, 19 November 2019   Updated: 01:17 PM, 19 November 2019

International Court of Justice (ICJ). Photo: Collected

International Court of Justice (ICJ). Photo: Collected

Gambia will open its case against Myanmar before the United Nations (UN)’s top court in December accusing the Southeast Asian nation of genocide against its Muslim-minority Rohingya people, the tribunal said on Monday. 

The Gambia, a tiny, mainly Muslim West African country, will ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to make an emergency injunction to protect the Rohingya, pending a decision on whether to deal with the wider case, reported AFP. 

Gambia’s case at the ICJ accuses Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through a brutal military campaign targeting the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.

The ICJ said in a statement that it “will hold public hearings in the case” from December 10 to 12. “The hearings will be devoted to the request for the indication of provisional measures submitted by the Republic of The Gambia,” it added. 

After winning the support of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), the Gambia filed the case. It is being supported by other Muslim states. In the 46-page application, Gambia has made eight specific allegations against Myanmar for violating the Genocide Convention. 

Bangladesh hosts over 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar’s Rohingya people. Among them, some 740,000 Rohingyas were forced to flee into sprawling camps in Bangladesh after a brutal 2017 military crackdown, in violence that United Nations investigators say amounts to genocide.

Gambia’s lawyers said it wants the ICJ to announce urgent emergency measures “to protect the Rohingya against further harm.” 

The case will be the first international legal attempt to bring Myanmar to justice over allegations of crimes against the Rohingya, and is a rare example of a country suing another over an issue to which it is not directly a party.   

The ICJ was set up in 1946 after World War II to adjudicate in disputes between UN member states.

Meanwhile, the International Criminal Court - another Hague-based court which was set up in 2002 to probe war crimes - on Thursday separately authorised its chief prosecutor to launch a full investigation into the persecution of the Rohingya. 

Besides, rights groups meanwhile filed a separate lawsuit over the Rohingya in Argentina in which Myanmar’s former democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi was personally named.

Myanmar, the mainly Buddhist state, has repeatedly defended the crackdown on the Rohingya as necessary to stamp out militants. It has not reacted to the ICJ case, but said last week that the ICC investigation was “not in accordance with international law.” 

Myanmar is not a member of the ICC, but the court says it can be held responsible for crimes that affect neighbouring Bangladesh. - AFP