Gambia appealed to the United Nation’s highest court Wednesday to reject Myanmar’s legal effort to end a case alleging genocide by the Southeast Asian country against its Rohingya Muslim minority.
Gambia brought the case before the International Court of Justice in 2019, arguing the Myanmar junta violated the 1948 genocide convention during a 2017 crackdown on the Rohingya. Gambia argues the crackdown amounted to genocide and that the world court must hold Myanmar accountable.
The Myanmar military launched what it called a clearance campaign in Rakhine state following an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group. Security forces allegedly committed mass rapes and murders, and they burned thousands of homes as some 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to neighboring Bangladesh. A U.N. fact-finding mission concluded the "genocidal acts" were committed during the campaign.
Gambian lawyers urged the court to reject Myanmar’s challenge to the case two days after Myanmar’s junta demanded that it drop the case. The junta argued the West African country was “no one’s proxy” and had no legal basis for challenging the case because it was really brought by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and that the court can only hear cases between countries.
“This is very much a dispute between the Gambia and Myanmar,” Gambia’s Attorney General and Justice Minister Dawda Jallow said in a rebuttal of the junta’s argument.
Judges could take months to rule on Myanmar’s demands to drop the case.
Myanmar's legal team is led by Ko Ko Hlaing, the minister for international cooperation. He replaced pro-democracy civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi after she was ousted in a military coup last year.
Some information for this report came from The Associated Press and Reuters.