THE HAGUE Myanmar faced accusations of genocide
in a lawsuit filed by Gambia at the UN's top court on Monday over the
southeast Asian nation's treatment of Rohingya Muslims, Gambia's government
Gambia said it was acting on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation of
Islamic Cooperation in bringing the case against Myanmar before the
International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
It accuses Myanmar of breaching the UN Genocide Convention through a
bloody military campaign which has driven hundreds of thousands of people
from the Rohingya minority into neighbouring Bangladesh.
In 2017 a brutal military crackdown forced 740,000 Rohingya to flee over
the border into sprawling camps in Bangladesh in violence that UN
investigators say amounts to genocide.
The lawsuit asks the ICJ to order Myanmar to cease and desist from its
genocidal acts, to punish the perpetrators, and to provide reparations for
the Rohingya victims, Gambia's justice ministry said.
It said Myanmar had failed to meet its obligations to prevent and to
punish genocide, accusing it of wanton acts of violence and malicious
degradation with the specific intent of state actors to destroy the Rohingya
as a group.
Mainly-Muslim Gambia said it had stepped up to file the case on behalf
of the rest of the OIC. Its justice minister Abubacarr Tambadou is a former
genocide prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and has
visited Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.
Gambia also asked the ICJ to make an urgent interim order while the case
is under way to protect the Rohingya against further harm by ordering
Myanmar to stop all of its genocidal conduct immediately.
There was no immediate reaction from Myanmar or the International Court of
The ICJ previously dealt with a genocide case when Bosnia brought a
lawsuit against Serbia over the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the
That case ended in 2007 with Serbia being held to have failed to prevent
Other legal attempts to bring Myanmar to justice over allegations of
crimes against the Rohingya have so far stalled.
The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court � a separate tribunal
from the ICJ that investigates war crimes � launched a preliminary
investigation into Myanmar in 2018 but no charges have been filed yet.
UN investigators have also called on the UN Security Council to refer
Myanmar to the Hague-based ICC or to set up a tribunal, like for the former
Yugoslavia and Rwanda, but again no action has yet been taken.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)