Gambia said yesterday it had filed a case at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority, drawing praise from human rights groups and Rohingya activists.
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled to neighbouring Bangladesh since a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar’s military, which United Nations investigators say was carried out with “genocidal intent”. Buddhist majority Myanmar denies accusations of genocide.
Gambia lodged its lawsuit after winning the support of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has 57 member states. Only a state can file a case against another state at the ICJ.
“The aim is to get Myanmar to account for its action against its own people: the Rohingya”, Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told a news conference in The Hague, where the U.N. court is based.
“It is a shame for our generation that we do nothing while genocide is unfolding right under our own eyes.” Both Gambia and Myanmar are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which not only prohibits states from committing genocide but also compels all signatory states to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.
While the ICJ has no means to enforce any of its rulings, going against the decisions of the court could further harm Myanmar’s international reputation. “This is monumental for the Rohingya community who have endured so much,” Rohingya activist Yasmin Ullah told a news conference in.