Genocide of Rohingyas – Gambia files Memoir With The ICJ
The Republic of The Gambia has on Friday filed with the International Court of Justice in The Hague its “Memoir” in the case it brought against Myanmar under the Genocide Convention last year. The Memoir, which consists of over 500 pages of text, and more than 5,000 annexed pages of supporting materials, documents Myanmar’s commission of genocide against its Rohingya Muslim population.
It describes and provides what The Gambia believes to be irrefutable proof of Myanmar’s acts of genocide targeting the entire Rohingya group – men, women, children and newborns – during so-called “cleansing operations” between 2016 and 2018, which included carefully-planned, widespread and indiscriminate killing, beating, torture, rape and gang-rape of Rohingya civilians, and the burning down of their homes and villages.
The evidence presented by The Gambia includes detailed factual reports from United Nations entities and officials, satellite imagery, independent reporting by human rights and humanitarian organizations, public statements by senior Myanmar officials, and witness statements from survivors of the genocide, journalists, and former Tatmadaw soldiers who participated in the acts of genocide.
The Memoir asks the Court to declare Myanmar responsible for the commission of genocide against the Rohingya people, and order that “Myanmar immediately cease its wrongful acts, prosecute and punish the perpetrators – including the senior military officers who planned the genocide – pay reparations to the victims, and permit Rohingya refugees who were forced to flee the country to return safely and securely to their homes”. The case was initiated by The Gambia, with the support of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and its 57 Member States, in November 2019.
Hearings were held by the International Court of Justice the following month on The Gambia’s request for a Provisional Measures Order from the Court to prevent further acts of genocide during the pendency of the case.
In January 2020, the Court issued its Order, requiring Myanmar, including its armed forces, to cease and desist from all further genocidal acts, including killing, physical abuse and rape, during the remainder of the proceedings, and to report on its compliance with the Order periodically.
The Order was issued by a unanimous, 17-0, vote of the judges. Myanmar has until July 2021 to file a Counter Memoir.
On 11 November 2019, The Gambia lodged a 45-page application with the ICJ against Myanmar, initiating the case. The application alleged that Myanmar has committed mass murder, rape and destruction of communities against the Rohingya group in Rakhine state since about October 2016 and that these actions violate the Genocide Convention.
The Gambia also submitted a request for the indication of provisional measures of protection. The ICJ held a public hearing on that request for three days, 10-12 December 2019. A commentator described the hearing as a “remarkable spectacle,” noting that The Gambia’s team provided “brutal descriptions” of atrocities, while Aung San Suu Kyi avoided using the word “Rohingya”—except in a reference to the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army.