In the latest happenings at the Peace Palace in Hague, lawyers fighting on behalf of the Rohingya Muslims plan to ask the judges next week to offer a verdict providing immediate security and protection to the minority group from further violence.
A small, Muslim majority nation in West African, Gambia, has filed a case of alleged genocide against Myanmar, which is considered one of the most serious international crimes.
The three-day hearing will begin from December 10. The lawyers will ask the International Court of Justice (ICJ) to announce ‘provisional measures’ in order to provide protection to the Rohingya Muslims before the entire case can be heard. The panel comprises of 16 judges who will announce the verdict.
Myanmar leader and Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s office informed that she will take over the defence of her country personally. A senior member of the cabinet said that it will be easy to get the allegations dropped.
The Defence is prepared to argue that no genocides took place in Myanmar. They will further argue that the UN court lacks jurisdiction over the matter and that there are no bases to form a case with Gambia as the petitioning party. However, experts feel that the request posed by the Gambian government is equivalent to seeking a restraining order against a country.
However, on the other hand, the Myanmar government spokesman Zaw Htay, at a news conference on November 15, said that the investigation into its alleged crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC) is not in accordance with international law. He said that the country's own committees would investigate any abuses and ensure accountability if needed. The ICC on November 13 approved a full probe into Myanmar's 2017 military crackdown against the minority group. Though the government stands against the probe, various rights groups have welcomed it.
Currently, Bangladesh is sheltering more than 1.1 million Rohingyas. Over 700,000 Rohingyas sought shelter in Cox's Bazar following August 2017 military crackdown in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. Not a single refugee has agreed to go back to their native country stating that the country has failed to create conditions for their safe return and survival.
On the other hand, Myanmar has repeatedly defended the crackdown as necessary to stamp out fighters. It has also refused the authority of the ICC in this regard from the start, neither has the country signed up to the court. However, last year the ICC ruled that since Bangladesh, where the Rohingya are now refugees, is a member nation, the court has jurisdiction over crimes against the Rohingya.