EYEAFRICA TV: Hague, The Netherlands: In the second round of observations before International Court for Justice in Hague, Gambia’s Attorney General and Minster of justice, Abubacarr M Tambedou, requested in pursuant to Article 41 of the statue of the court, to indicate the provisional measures which are directly linked to the rights that form the subject matter of dispute pending its determination of the case on the merits.
“The Gambia’s request for provisional measures falls squarely within the genocide convention we have shown that the rights of the Gambia that we are seeking to protect are plausibly connected to the measures requested and we have amply demonstrated urgency and risk of reparable harm,” Mr Tambedou said on Thursday.
“The Gambia urges this court as the guidance of our moral and legal compose under the convention to indicate the requested provisional measures,” he added.
On November 11, Gambia with the backing of the 57 members of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, filed a case with the court alleging that the Myanmar military’s atrocities in Rakhine State against Rohingya Muslims violate the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. On November 20, Myanmar recognized being bound by the ICJ Statute and announced that its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, would lead the delegation to “defend the national interest of Myanmar.”
The justice minister said the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar is dire evidence from various UN bodies and independent human rights organisations, clearly established the urgent and eminent risk of the recurrences of genocide that they face, saying the lives of these human beings are at risk.
“The Gambia may not be a neighbouring state but it has a kneen and special interest in seeing that no group of people including the Rohingya suffer genocide. As a state party to the genocide convention, the Gambia has come to this court to protect its rights under the convention to ensure that parties’ obligations undertaken by Myanmar under the convention are fulfilled.”
Gambia’s justice minister said the obligations not to commit genocide and to prevent any genocide are “owed to the Gambia and indeed to all other state parties to the convention.”
The Gambia, he said has been open about its dispute with Myanmar even at successive sessions at the UN general assembly, adding that they openly welcome support for the effort from other states including member states of the OIC.
The case will be the first international legal attempt to bring Myanmar to justice over the Rohingya crisis, and is a rare example of a country suing another over an issue to which it is not directly a party. Both Gambia and Myanmar are signatories to the 1948 Genocide Convention, which not only prohibits states from committing genocide but also compels all signatory states to prevent and punish the crime of genocide.
He said The Gambia is proud to have the diplomatic and political support of the other 56 member states of the OIC and of other supportive states like Canada and the Netherlands.
He however refute claims from the defence side which suggest that Gambia’s move is initiated by OIC and the UN, saying the Gambia in its sovereign capacity pursues the case against Myanmar.
“It was the Gambia alone that send the verbal note to Myanmar to clearly spell out the nature of this dispute and put Myanmar on notice. And it was the Gambia alone that has filed the application and request for provisional measures that is now before the court,” he clarified.
Below is Gambia’s request for provisional measures:
Pursuant to article 41 of the statue of ICJ, The Gambia, as a state party to the genocide convention respectfully request the court as a matter of extreme urgency to indicate the following provisional measures which are directly linked to the rights that form the subject matter of this dispute pending its determination of this case on the merits.
- Myanmar shall immediately in pursuant of its undertakings under the convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide of the 9 of December 1948.Take all measures within its power to prevent all act that amount or contribute to the crime of genocide including taking all measures within its to prevent the following acts from being committed against any member of the Rohingya group. extra judicial killings or physical abuse, rape or other forms of sexual violence, burning of homes or villages, destruction of lands and livestock, depression of food and other necessities of life or any other deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction of the Rohingya group in whole or in part.
- Myanmar shall in particular ensure that any military per military or irregular arm unit which may be directed or supported by it as well as any organisations and persons which may subject to its control, direction or influence do not commit any act of genocide, of conspiracy to commit genocide or direct and public incitement to commit genocide or in the complicity in genocide against the Rohingya group including extra judicial killings or physical abuse, rape or other forms of sexual violence, burning of homes or villages, destruction of lands and livestock, depression of food and other necessities of life or any other deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about physical destruction of the Rohingya group in whole or in part.
- Myanmar shall not destroy or render inaccessible any evidence related to the events describe in the application including without limitation by destroying or rendering inaccessible the remains of any member of the Rohingya group who is a victim of allege genocidal acts or altering the physical location where such acts are alleged to have occurred in such a manner as to render the evidence of such acts if any inaccessible .
- Myanmar and the Gambia shall not take any action and shall assure that no action is taken which may aggravate or extent the existing dispute that is the subject of this application or render it more difficult of resolution.
- Myanmar and the Gambia shall each provide a report to the court on all measures taken to give effect for this order for provisional measures no later than four months from its issuant.
- Myanmar shall grant access and corporate with all United Nations fact-finding bodies that are engage in investigating allege genocidal acts against the Rohingya including the conditions of which the Rohingya are subjected.
Story written by Juldeh Njie