The International Court of Justice will issue a ruling on a request for provisional measures in a genocide case against Myanmar on Jan. 23, Gambia's Justice Minister said.
The Hague-based International Court of Justice (ICJ), the United Nations’ highest court, will issue a ruling on a request for provisional and special measures in a genocide case against Myanmar on Jan. 23, Gambia's Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said Monday on Twitter.
The mainly Muslim West African country instituted the case in November, alleging Buddhist-majority Myanmar was committing “an ongoing genocide” against its minority Muslim Rohingya population.
As only a state can file a case against another state at the ICJ, Gambia lodged its lawsuit after winning the support of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC), which has 57 member states.
Gambia is arguing that Myanmar's forces carried out widespread and systematic atrocities that constituted genocide, and that in doing so the Southeast Asian country violated its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Mass rapes, the burning alive of Muslim Rohingya families in their homes, and the killing with knives of dozens of children had been described by Gambia's legal team when presenting the case at the international court in December.
Gambia had asked the ICJ to order emergency measures for Myanmar to stop its forces from committing “all acts that amount to or contribute to the crime of genocide” against the Rohingya, the first step in a legal case that is expected to go on for years.
Myanmar’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi had traveled to The Hague last month to defend her country against the charges. Impassively listening to the accusations of genocide, she eventually denied them and argued that the military "clearance operations" launched in August 2017 were a legitimate counterterrorism response to attacks by Rohingya militants.
Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate once championed in Europe and the United States for her decades-long fight for democracy in Myanmar, said her country did investigate and prosecute soldiers and officers accused of crimes, and that under such circumstances, the court had no jurisdiction to intervene.
However, Gambia said Myanmar cannot be trusted to bring alleged military perpetrators of crimes against the Rohingya to justice.
The International Court of Justice’s decisions are binding and not subject to appeal, though the court has no means of enforcement and countries have occasionally ignored them or failed to adhere fully.