Myanmar Genocide Case: ICJ to Resume Hearing over Preliminary Objections today

International Court of Justice Law Insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: February 21, 2022 at 15:40 IST

On February 21, the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will begin hearing over Myanmar’s objections to a Genocide Case brought after the military’s brutal crackdown on the Rohingya Muslims.

The Case was filed by Gambia with the support of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) after 7 lakh Rohingyas fled into Bangladesh after allegations that the Myanmar military burnt the villages and carried out large-scale killings, gang rape and abuses.

An Investigation by United Nations found out that the crackdown was carried out with genocidal intent and recommended that Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and 5 Generals shall be prosecuted.

In 2019, Aung San Suu Kyi had travelled to lead Myanmar’s Defence but she was removed from office in February 2021 in a Military Coup. Therefore, the leaders of Myanmar stated that their representatives would raise preliminary objections in ICJ.

The National Unity Government (NUG) which includes the elected legislators but were removed by the military stated that it was withdrawing the objections and wanted that the ICJ proceeds with merits of the Case.

NUG stated that UN Ambassador Kyaw Moe Tun appointed by Suu Kyi’s government was the only person authorized to engage with the ICJ.

Human Rights Watch and Global Justice Center stated that military’s participation in Hearings at ICJ would have “no bearing on its recognition as the United Nations”. It was noted that under ICJ Rules, “States have no permanent representatives accredited to the Court. They normally communicate with the Registrar through their Minister of Foreign Affairs, or their Ambassador accredited to Netherlands.”

Assistance Association for Political Prisoners (AAPP) stated that the more than 1,500 people were killed after the military seized power and violence also increased in minority areas.

The President of Global Justice Center stated that the ICJ Proceedings were the groundwork for accountability in Myanmar for all those who suffered because of the military.

President of United Kingdom rights Organization BROUK stated that the ICJ Hearings are an opportunity of Justice for Rohingyas 4 years after the atrocities were committed against them.

The preliminary objections of Myanmar are not made public but are related to issues of Jurisdiction and admissibility of Gambia’s application.

It was surprising that Suu Kyi defended the Myanmar military in the genocide while she addressed the ICJ. However, the Presiding Judge Abdulawi Ahmed Yusuf stated that Myanmar caused irreparable damage to rights of Rohingyas.

Almost 6 lakh Rohingyas are in the Rakhine state, living under severe restrictions.

The hybrid Hearings will start at 1:30 pm and will go on for a week.

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