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10 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM
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Genocide hearing against Myanmar starts today

15 ICJ judges to hear Gambia on first day
DIPLOMATIC CORRESPONDENT, Dhaka

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) is going to hold the public hearings today on the lawsuit against Myanmar for alleged genocide against Rohingyas. The name of the case is “Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia vs Myanmar)—Request for the indication of provisional measures”. The public hearings follow the lawsuit filed by the Gambia, a tiny country in West Africa and also a member of the Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), on November 11. Experts said the hearings would be a historic legal procedure that will pave a path for justice for Rohingyas.

On the first day of the three-day-long hearings, the Court comprising 15 judges will listen to the Gambia’s arguments, seeking justice for the alleged acts of genocide against Rohingya Muslim minorities in Myanmar in 2017. As per the schedule of the hearings, the Gambia will place its arguments at 10am and continue till 1pm. On Wednesday, Myanmar would place its defence arguments from 10am to 1pm.

On Thursday, the Gambia will again place its arguments from 10am to 11.30am and Myanmar will do so from 4.30pm to 6pm. After completion of the hearings, the ICJ may come up with some provisional measures as per the lawsuit filed by Gambia.

Meanwhile, Myanmarese leader Aung San Suu Kyi, along with her country’s delegation, has reached the Hague to defend her country against the charges of genocide. Though Bangladesh would not directly take part in the ICJ proceedings, it

would extend cooperation to the Gambia. A 20-member Bangladeshi delegation, led by foreign minister Md Shahidul Haque, has already reached the Hague.

Foreign ministry sources said Canada and Netherlands would also support the Gambia with all kinds of data and information needed for the public hearings.

Besides, representatives of the Rohingya people would also be present during the hearings.

The ICJ website mentioned that the public hearings will take place at the Great Hall of Justice and there would be a limited number of seats available. Priority access would be given to the representatives of the states and members of the diplomatic corps, it said. Both the Bangladeshi government and experts believe that Myanmar should be made accountable for the most serious international crime of genocide unleashed by the Myanmarese army against Rohingyas.

The world’s eyes are on the ICJ with the expectation that it would come up with some “provisional measures” to ensure justice so that none can escape from committing crimes against any ethnicity. If the court issues any provisional measures, Myanmar has to abide by them because it signed the Convention on Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in December 1949 and ratified it in March, 1956. All member states of the Convention have a duty to prevent and to punish genocide as per rules.

Since World War II, only three cases have been recognised under international law as genocide—Cambodia in the late 1970s; Rwanda in 1994; and Srebrenica, Bosnia in 1995. However, proving genocide is very difficult because of the need to prove “intent requirements”. This requires proving the acts of genocide with specific intent to eliminate an ethnic community.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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