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Rohingya Genocide Case: Gambia Urges ICJ to Reject Preliminary Objections of Myanmar

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International Court of Justice Law Insider

Mitali Palnitkar

Published On: February 24, 2022 at 17:10 IST

On February 23, 2022, Gambia urged the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to dismiss Preliminary Objections filed by Myanmar in the Case accusing it of Genocide against the Rohingya minority group.

Currently, the International Court of Justice is holding Hearings into the list of Preliminary Objections filed by Myanmar’s Civilian Government before the Military Coup in February 2021. Myanmar challenged ICJ’s Jurisdiction in hearing the Case.

The Attorney General of Gambia and Justice Minister Dawda Jallow said, “The Court must reject the meritless Preliminary Objections of Myanmar and Adjudicate the merits of the dispute.”

Jallow rejected the attempts of Myanmar to reject the case on Technical Grounds. Myanmar had stated that the case was brought by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and that the International Court of Justice could only hear Cases between Nations.

Jallow said, “We are no one’s proxy.” He added, “This is very much a dispute between The Gambia and Myanmar.”

Lawyer Paul S Reichler representing the Gambia said, “Seizure of power by the military might have empowered those alleged of ethnic cleansing and the Rohingya Genocide also if they managed to escape the Jurisdiction of the Court, they will not be accountable to anyone and there will be no constraints on their persecution.”

Reichler further stated that the Rohingyas remain at grave risk of mass atrocity crimes.

The Gambia had filed a Complaint following the Myanmar military’s Assaults upon the Rohingya community in 2017, which led to more than 7 lakh civilians leaving Myanmar and going to Bangladesh.

It was claimed by the United Nations Researchers that the killing of civilians and the Military Assaults were “Genocidal” in nature.

The United Nation’s Independent International Fact-Finding Mission reported in August 2018 that the Crimes in Myanmar were similar in nature, gravity, and scope to those having a genocidal intent.

Despite several Appeals by Gambia in the International Court of Justice and Myanmar’s Preliminary Objections to the Genocide Case, it remains a question as to who has the right to represent Myanmar at the respective Court.

This week, the Military Junta’s legal team led by Minister for International Co-operation Ko Ko Hlaing was present in the Court. However, National Unity Government (NUG) earlier this month made a bid to be recognized as Myanmar’s representative and pledged to withdraw the Preliminary Objections.