“Historic”, “Gamechanger” “Monumental” – just some of the adjectives being slung around The Hague as Gambia asked the International Court of Justice to ‘stop the genocide’ in Myanmar.
Why all the excitement? Well, international lawyers do get very worked up when the world court – the ICJ – gets it teeth into a new subject. And this is about genocide – another big buzz word. Both Myanmar and Gambia signed up to the 1948 Genocide Convention which doesn’t only say don’t do it, but also that you have to prevent and punish the crime of genocide. And the ICJ is the place to get stuck into whether a state is sticking to its treaty obligations.
If the ICJ agrees to take up the case, there will be a few firsts: first time the court is hearing a genocide claim by one country without a direct dispute between each other and the first time to look into genocide claims without any previous findings from other tribunals.
Gambia is asking for ‘provisional measures’ – a quick hearing and decision – “to stop [Myanmar’s] ongoing atrocities and genocide against its own Rohingya people”.
Gambia filed the case on behalf of all 57 members of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and they are bankrolling what may be a very drawn out venture, taking six years or more.
We grabbed Akila Radhakrishnan – the president of the Global Justice Center based in New York, an international human rights organisation focused on gender equality and the rule of law, that’s been at the centre of all the lobbying for this move.
Click here for one of Stephanie’s multiple reports.
And this is Janet’s.
Look out for Akila’s book recommendation: The Power by Naomi Alderman . Stephanie’s read it and also recommends it. Janet is off to download onto her kindle.