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ICJ to rule on emergency measures in Myanmar genocide case on Jan 23

  • Published at 10:54 am January 15th, 2020
Photo: Mahmud Hossain Opu/Dhaka Tribune

Foreign Minister describes the development as big and hopes to get some good news from The Hague  

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will rule on January 23 over The Gambian request for provisional measures in the case against Myanmar for allegedly violating the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in connection with the Rohingya.

An ICJ press release issued on Wednesday said, the principal judicial organ of the United Nations will deliver on January 23 its order on the request for the indication of provisional measures made by The Gambia in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar).   

It said, “A public sitting will take place at 10 am at the Peace Palace in The Hague, during which Judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf, President of the Court, will read the Court’s Order.”

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Justice of the Gambia also tweeted “The International Court of Justice @CIJ_ICJ will on Thursday 23rd January be delivering its decision on the Provisional Measures requested by The Gambia in its #Genocide case against Myanmar.” 

File photo: Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi speaks in front of the judges on the second day of hearings in a case filed by Gambia against Myanmar alleging genocide against the minority Muslim Rohingya population, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands December 11, 2019 | ReutersThe orders of the ICJ are binding on the member states.  

When contacted by Dhaka Tribune, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen described the development as big and expressed optimism of getting some good news from The Hague on January 23.  

On November 11, The Gambia, a West African nation with a Muslim majority, filed the case with the ICJ against Myanmar on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC). The Gambia is the chair of the ad hoc ministerial committee on accountability for human rights violations against the Rohingya that was established at the 45th OIC council of Foreign Ministers meeting in Dhaka over May 5-6, 2018.

Filing the case, the Attorney General and Justice Minister of the Gambia, Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, also asked the ICJ to impose provisional measures, as a matter of extreme urgency, to protect the Rohingya against further harm by ordering Myanmar to stop all of its genocidal conducts immediately.

ICJ held hearing on the provisional measures requested by The Gambia from December 10 to 12.

Tambadou led The Gambia in the hearings while the Myanmar side was headed by State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, the de facto head of the government, in the capacity of the Foreign Minister.

The Gambia argued that there are compelling evidences that genocide in Rakhine has occurred and occurring and is likely to take place in the future while Myanmar denied such accusation although it acknowledged that in some instances disproportionate forces during the military operations.

The Gambia asked for six provisional measures to be ordered by the court, including a halt to acts with genocidal intent by Myanmar and crucially granting of access to, and cooperation with, all UN fact-finding bodies that are engaged in investigating alleged genocidal acts against the Rohingya.

Myanmar continues to deny access of all international stakeholders, including that of the UN special rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar. 

On the other hand, Myanmar has asked the court to remove the case from its list or alternatively to reject the request for the indication of provisional measures.

According to experts familiar with the activities of the ICJ, the world court either accept all the provisional measures or agree to some of them or reject all of them.

“It is a big development. We hope that we will get some good news from the Hague on January 23,” Foreign Minister Dr Momen told this correspondent.

To a question, he said that the ICJ will accept all the provisional measures requested by The Gambia.