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Gambia’s genocide case against Myanmar hailed

  • Published at 10:52 pm November 11th, 2019
File photo: Rohingya refugees stretch their hands to receive aid distributed by local organisations at Balukhali makeshift refugee camp in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, September 14, 2017 Reuters

The case is likely to bring the first judicial scrutiny of Myanmar’s violent campaign against the Rohingyas

Bangladesh and a group of international human rights groups have welcomed the filing of a genocide case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by Gambia.

“Of course it is a welcome move. I have not yet gone through the whole matter [filing of the case]. We will do what we need to do on our part in collaboration with the Foreign Ministry,” National Human Rights Commission Chairman Nasima Begum told Dhaka Tribune on Monday evening.

Also Read - Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at World Court

However, Law Minister Anisul Huq said: “Let me get all the relevant information before making any comment on the issue.”

But he added that there were some procedures involved in this type of cases, including the court’s decision to take the case into cognizance.

Despite repeated attempts, the foreign minister and the foreign secretary could not be reached for any comment.

Rohingya refugees migrating to different camps in Cox Bazar | Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

“We support the Gambian move,” a senior diplomat told Dhaka Tribune, but informed that the Foreign Ministry like in the past will not issue any official statement about the case against Myanmar.

Meanwhile, 10 human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, said that Gambia’s case at the ICJ for violating the 1948 Genocide Convention will bring the first judicial scrutiny of Myanmar’s campaign of murder, rape, arson, and other atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim population.

Myanmar became a party to the convention in 1956.

Unidentified men carry knives and slingshots as they walk past a burning house in Gawdu Tharya village near Maungdaw in Rakhine state, in northern Myanmar on September 7, 2017 | AFP

States that are party to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide agreed that genocide “whether committed in time of peace or in time of war, is a crime under international law which they undertake to prevent and to punish” and, by extension, have an obligation not to commit it, they said in a statement.

The convention permits member states to bring a dispute before the ICJ alleging another state’s breach of the convention, and states can seek provisional measures to stop continuing violations.