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Rohingya Genocide Case

ICJ hearing starts today

Published : 09 Dec 2019 09:39 PM | Updated : 06 Sep 2020 12:30 PM

International Court of Justice (ICJ) is set to hear the historic Rohingya genocide case today, amid widespread expectation for long-awaited justice for the repressed minority Muslim community of Rakhine state of Myanmar. In the Peace Palace of The Hague, ICJ will begin the hearing of the case filed by tiny West African country Gambia against Myanmar for its genocide committed during the 2017 bloody army crackdown on the minority Rohingya community.

The small, Muslim-majority African country will ask the ICJ to make an emergency injunction to protect the Rohingya, pending a decision on whether to deal with the wider case. In a bid to strengthen Gambia’s demand to punish the perpetrators of Rohingya genocide, Bangladesh, Canada and Netherlands will assist Gambia in the hearing.

A 20-member Bangladesh delegation led by Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Huq left Dhaka on Monday to attend the hearing. The delegation includes Asia and Pacific Affairs Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Australia Sufiur Rahman, Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Iran Gausul Azam Sarker, three representatives from Rohingya refugees and civil society members. Prior to leaving Dhaka for The Hague, Foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque told the media, “The Bangladesh delegation is attending the hearing as a member of Organisation of Islamic Countries (OIC) and also as the host country of Rohingya refugees.”

Over assisting Gambia in the case, he said, “Bangladesh is already providing Gambia with various kinds of assistance to conduct the hearing.” “Bangladesh has been extensively in the loop of the ICJ process after Gambia lodged the case on behalf of the OIC,” he added.
Mentionable, Gambia's case at the ICJ accuses Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through a brutal military campaign.

According to a report of the Ontario International Development Agency, Myanmar state forces killed nearly 24,000 Rohingyas and raped thousands of women and girls from August 2017. In September 2018, the UN, in an investigation report over the alleged genocide, termed the atrocities a classic example of ethnic cleansing. Over the last two years, UN Security Council took no concrete action against Myanmar mainly because of opposition from China and Russia that have veto powers.

On November 11 last, Gambia submitted a 46-page application to the ICJ, accusing Myanmar carrying out mass murder, rape and destruction of communities in Rakhine state. The application seeks punishment for culprits, compensation for victims and end to attacks on Rohingyas.

Under the rules of the ICJ, the application argues, member states can bring actions against other member states over disputes alleging breaches of international law – in this case the 1948 convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide. “It is the first time the court in The Hague is investigating genocide claims on its own without relying on the findings of other tribunals, such as the international criminal tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, which it consulted for claims against Serbia and Croatia,” reports The Guardian.

Meanwhile, the European Rohingya Council (ERC) and Myanmar Muslim Association Netherlands (MMAN) is going to stage demonstration and organise a mass rally in front of the ICJ in The Hague today, to seek justice for the persecuted Rohingya community. ERC and MMAN, in a press release on Sunday, called upon ‘the justice-loving people from all over the world, Rohingya and non-Rohingya’, to join them at the historic event ‘in the pursuits of long-awaited justice’.

Read More: OIC welcomes ICJ hearing