UN tribunal to rule on jurisdiction in Rohingya genocide case | Military

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — The United Nations’ highest court is ruling Friday on whether to pursue a landmark case that accuses Myanmar’s leaders of genocide against the country’s mostly Muslim Rohingya minority.

The International Court of Justice is set to deliver its ruling on Myanmar’s claims that the Hague-based court lacks jurisdiction and that the case brought by the tiny African nation of Gambia in 2019 is inadmissible.

If judges overrule Myanmar’s objections, they will set the stage for court hearings airing evidence of atrocities against the Rohingya that rights groups and a UN investigation say amount to violations of the convention on the 1948 genocide. In March, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken declared that the violent suppression of the Rohingya population in Myanmar amounted to genocide.

Amid international outrage over the treatment of the Rohingya, The Gambia has filed a complaint with the World Court alleging that Myanmar violates the Genocide Convention. The nation argued that Gambia and Myanmar are parties to the convention and that all signatories have a duty to ensure its implementation.

Lawyers representing Myanmar argued in February that the case should be thrown out because the World Court only hears state-to-state cases and the Rohingya complaint was filed by The Gambia on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

They also claimed that The Gambia could not take the case to court as it was not directly related to the events in Myanmar and there was no legal dispute between the two countries prior to the filing of the petition. affair.

Gambia’s attorney general and justice minister, Dawda Jallow, insisted in February that the case had to go forward and that it had been brought by his country, not the OIC.

“We are not anyone’s agent,” Jallow told the court.

The Netherlands and Canada support The Gambia, stating in 2020 that the country “has taken a commendable step towards ending impunity for those who commit atrocities in Myanmar and is delivering on that commitment.” Canada and the Netherlands consider it their duty to support these efforts which concern all of humanity.

Myanmar’s military launched what it called a mine clearance campaign in Rakhine state in 2017 following an attack by a group of Rohingya insurgents. More than 700,000 Rohingya have fled to neighboring Bangladesh, and Myanmar’s security forces have been blamed for mass rapes, murders and burning down thousands of homes.

In 2019, lawyers representing The Gambia at the ICJ exposed their genocide claims by showing judges maps, satellite images and graphic photos of the military campaign. This led the court to order Myanmar to do everything possible to prevent the genocide against the Rohingya. The interim decision was intended to protect the minority while the case goes to trial in The Hague, a process likely to take years.

The ICJ case was complicated by last year’s military coup in Myanmar. The decision to allow the Southeast Asian nation’s military-installed government to represent the country at the February hearings has drawn heavy criticism. A shadow administration known as the National Unity Government, made up of representatives including elected lawmakers who were barred from sitting by the 2021 military coup, had argued that it should represent Myanmar before the courts. courts.

The International Court of Justice adjudicates disputes between states. It is not linked to the International Criminal Court, also based in The Hague, which holds individuals accountable for atrocities. ICC prosecutors are investigating crimes committed against Rohingya who were forced to flee to Bangladesh.

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