By Bakary Ceesay
The Republic of The Gambia has filed today before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague a lawsuit alleging that the Republic of the Union of Myanmar has violated its obligations under the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide for its genocidal actions against the Rohingya people, a Muslim minority that lives in Myanmar.
Genocide is a crime under international law, and all States have an obligation to prevent, to punish, and to not commit genocide. Myanmar has failed in adhering to its obligations on all counts in its brutal treatment of the Rohingya, who have been subjected to wanton acts of violence and malicious degradation with the specific intent of State actors to destroy the Rohingya as a group.
The Gambia has stepped forward, on behalf of the 57 Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, and with the mandate of the Organization, to hold Myanmar accountable for its genocidal crimes against the Rohingya.
This action asks the ICJ to adjudge and declare Myanmar to have violated its obligations under the Genocide Convention, to order Myanmar to cease and desist from its genocidal acts, to punish the perpetrators, and to provide reparations for the Rohingya victims.
The Gambia has also asked the ICJ to impose Provisional Measures, as a matter of extreme urgency, to protect the Rohingya against further harm during the pendency of this case by ordering Myanmar to stop all of its genocidal conduct immediately. The Gambia calls on the international community to support its legal effort, and to redouble all diplomatic and political efforts to cause Myanmar to stop, and never to repeat, its genocide against the Rohingya, and to assist in efforts to ensure justice and accountability for the crimes committed against them.
The Agent for The Gambia before the ICJ in this case, and head of its legal team, is H.E. Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, Attorney General and Minister of Justice of The Gambia. The Gambia has retained the services of Foley Hoag LLP, an international law firm with many years of experience representing States before the ICJ, as its counsel. The Gambia will also be represented by Professor Philippe Sands, of University College London, and Professor Payam Akhavan, of McGill University.