Myanmar Regime to Present Objections in Rohingya Genocide Case to ICJ Next Month

By The Irrawaddy 19 January 2022

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will next month hear the Myanmar junta’s preliminary objections in the genocide case brought against the country by Gambia over the Myanmar military’s 2017 clearance operations against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State.

The hearings in the Great Hall of Justice on Feb. 21, 23, 25 and 28 will be held in a hybrid format due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ICJ, also known as the World Court, said on Wednesday, meaning some members of the court will attend the oral proceedings in person while others will do so remotely by video link.

It added that representatives of the Myanmar junta and Gambia will participate either in person or by video link.

More than 700,000 Muslims from Rakhine State in western Myanmar fled to neighboring Bangladesh in late 2017 after the government’s security forces launched clearance operations in the north of the state in response to a series of attacks by the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army on police outposts. Those who fled said the Rohingya were subjected to extrajudicial killings, rapes and arson by security forces. UN investigators said the operations had “genocidal intent”. Both the Myanmar government and military denied the accusation.

Gambia filed a case at the court in November 2019 on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against the Rohingya.

Since-ousted Myanmar leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi personally attended hearings in The Hague in December 2019 to tell the court that those responsible should be tried at home.

In January 2020 the ICJ ordered Myanmar to implement a series of provisional measures to protect Rohingya Muslims from killings and other atrocities while refraining from destroying evidence related to allegations of crimes against them. It also ordered the country to report on its compliance with provisional measures in four months and then every six months thereafter.

Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has been detained by the junta since its coup in February last year.

In June, the military regime organized a new legal team led by its foreign minister, U Wunna Maung Lwin, to mount a defense in the case at the ICJ. The panel has eight members including two serving lieutenant generals: Yar Pyae and Adjutant-General Myo Zaw Thein.

The junta has yet to announce who will go to The Hague to present the arguments.

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