International courts of justice allows Rohingya genocide case-against Myanmar filed by Gambia

The International court of justice at Hague on July 22,2022 allowed the case between Gambia and Myanmar under the international genocide convention. The case was filed on November 11, 2019, against Myanmar’s campaign of murder, rape, arson and other atrocities against Rohingya Muslims. Gambia filed the case before the ICJ alleging the military operations in 2016 and 2017, which resulted in genocide which caused mass killings and destruction and the cause for the displacement of the ethnic Rohingya population in Rakhine State of Myanmar. Countries like Canada, Turkey, Nigeria, France and several other countries asserted the crimes done in Myanmar.

Myanmar objected to such claims submitted by Gambia on reasons that

  •  Gambia and Myanmar were not in dispute as countries as defined by Article IX* of the Genocide convention. But the Court unanimously ruled that the two countries were in dispute concerning the Rohingya Genocide by virtue of the countries holding different views on the same matter.
  • That ICJ lacked jurisdiction because the case was filed by a non-state party, the Organisation of Islamic cooperation. But this claim was rejected on the grounds that Gambia instituted the present proceedings in its own name as the state party to the Statute of the Court and to the Genocide convention.
  •  Since Gambia was not an ‘injured state’, it therefore lacked the standing to bring up the case to ICJ though the court disagreed saying there is a common interest in preventing and punishing genocide and that the obligations in question are owed by any state party to all the other states parties to the relevant convention.

* Article IX

“Disputes between the Contracting Parties relating to the interpretation, application or fulfilment of the present Convention, including those relating to the responsibility of a State for genocide or for any of the other acts enumerated in article III, shall be submitted to the International Court of Justice at the request of any of the parties to the dispute.”

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