ICJ Permits 7 States To Join The Gambia’s Genocide Case Against Myanmar

By Legal Wires 4 Minutes Read

The International Court of Justice unanimously permitted seven states to intervene in the ongoing genocide case brought by The Gambia against Myanmar on Wednesday. The countries allowed to join the proceedings are the Maldives, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the UK.

The court found their declarations of intervention are admissible under Article 63 of the Statute of the International Court of Justice. This article permits states that are parties to the convention under scrutiny to intervene in the proceedings. In this case, The Gambia alleges that Myanmar’s actions against the Rohingya ethnic group in Rakhine State violated the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of Genocide. The Rohingya, a Muslim minority in Myanmar, have reportedly faced decades of systematic discrimination, statelessness, and targeted violence.

With this order, the seven states are authorized, in accordance with Article 86 of the Rules of Court, to submit their written observations on the matters pertaining to their interventions. However, the Court will determine at a later date whether they should be authorized to make observations in the course of the oral proceedings.

In 2017, Gambia, a predominantly Muslim West African country, filed a case against Myanmar at the ICJ, accusing it of committing genocide against the Rohingya, a minority Muslim group in Myanmar. The Gambia had initially filed the case on behalf of the 57 members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). However, Myanmar argued that the true applicant was the OIC, which had no standing before the court under Article 34. Myanmar also claimed that The Gambia lacked standing since the alleged acts of genocide occurred outside its territory against non-Gambians.

Nevertheless, in January 2020, the ICJ issued provisional measures ordering Myanmar to prevent acts of genocide against the Rohingya. The effectiveness of these measures has been questioned, as Human Rights Watch continues to document abuses against the Rohingya in Myanmar. On June 27, 89 civil rights groups urged the UN Security Council to intervene to stop the “surging violence and atrocities” and protect Rohingya and other ethnic minorities in Myanmar. Notably, two of the intervening countries in the ICJ case, France and the UK, are permanent members of the UN Security Council, which could increase pressure on Myanmar’s military leadership.

Legal Wires

Team @LegalWires

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