FT Online

Published:
2019-11-19 15:33:03 BdST

UN court to hear Myanmar genocide case next month


Gambia will open its case against
Myanmar before the UN’s top court in December accusing the mainly Buddhist
state of genocide against its Rohingya Muslims, the tribunal said Monday.

The small, majority-Muslim African country will ask the International
Court of Justice to make an emergency injunction to protect the Rohingya,
pending a decision on whether to deal with the wider case.

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.

Gambia says it is filing the case on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation
of Islamic Cooperation.

Some 740,000 Rohingya 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.

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

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 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.

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