New Delhi: Judges at the United Nations’ (UN) highest court on Friday dismissed preliminary objections by Myanmar to a case alleging that the Southeast Asian nation is responsible for genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority, news agency AP reported. The decision clears the way for the highly charged case, brought by Gambia, to go ahead at the International Court of Justice, a process that will take years.
As per the report, the decision sets the stage for court hearings airing evidence of atrocities against the Rohingya that, according to human rights groups and a UN probe, breach the 1948 Genocide Convention.
Notably, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in March had said that the violent repression of the Rohingya population in Myanmar amounts to genocide.
Reading a summary of the decision, the court’s president, US Judge Joan E. Donoghue, said, as quoted by AP, “Any state party to the Genocide Convention may invoke the responsibility of another state party including through the institution of proceedings before the court.”
According to the report, the UN court rejected the arguments raised at hearings in February by lawyers representing Myanmar, that the case should be tossed out because the world court only hears cases between states, and that the Rohingya complaint was brought by Gambia on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
However, Gambia’s Attorney General and Justice Minister Dawda Jallow in February had insisted that the case should go ahead and that it was brought by his country and not the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.