Myanmar’s National Unity Government (NUG) said that as the country’s lawful government it is taking all steps necessary to cooperate with the world’s highest court, the International Court of Justice (ICJ), on proceedings in a case in which Myanmar is accused of committing genocide against the Rohingya.
After a brutal military crackdown in the western state of Rakhine in 2017 that forced more than 700,000 Rohingya to flee across the border to neighboring Bangladesh, Gambia in November 2019 brought a case at the ICJ—which is an organ of the UN and is also known as the World Court—accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against the Rohingya. State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi defended the country against the charge in December 2019.
Gambia’s legal team listed the Myanmar military’s atrocities against the minority Muslim group in northern Rakhine state, including mass rapes, the burning of families in their homes and the killing of dozens of Rohingya children. As the case could take years, the African nation asked the ICJ to order “provisional measures” to prevent more violations.
Going further than the measures requested by Gambia, the ICJ ordered Myanmar on Jan. 23 to report on its compliance with the provisional measures in four months and then every six months thereafter. The Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-led civilian government submitted two reports prior to its ouster by the military in a coup on Feb. 1.
In a statement released on Sunday, the NUG said it is very concerned about the difficult situation facing the Rohingya, especially those who fled to Bangladesh in 2016-17.
As the lawful government, ensuring continuity of representation before the court and being mindful of the timetable established by the court are among its duties, the NUG said.
It added that it is also considering accepting the exercise of jurisdiction by a separate international court, the International Criminal Court, over the killings, torture and other crimes against civilians committed by the Myanmar junta since the coup on Feb. 1. The Myanmar military seized power from the democratically elected National League for Democracy government, detained civilian leaders and abolished the new Parliament on the day it was scheduled to convene.
Since the coup, the Myanmar regime has killed at least 840 people and arrested more than 5,500, of whom 4,409 remain in detention, according to advocacy group the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners.
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