Myanmar faces genocide lawsuit at top UN court

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)