International desk – The Gambia has asked the top United Nations court to order stopping genocide in Myanmar, from where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims fled brutal military crackdown to neighbouring Bangladesh.
Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou made the call on Tuesday as hearing began on accusations of genocide brought at the International Court of Justice in The Hague against Myanmar.
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s de facto leader and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, appeared the court to defend her country.
Gambian, one behalf of the Organisaiton of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), filed the litigation with the court in the Hague more than two years after the latest wave of violence carried out by the military and their cohorts in August 2017 in Buddhist-majority Myanmar against the ethnic minorities forcing nearly 750,000 Rohingya Muslims to cross into Bangladesh.
The refugees have been living in squalid camps in Bangladesh’s eastern district of Cox’s Bazar bordering Myanmar.
“All that The Gambia asks is that you tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings, to stop these acts of barbarity that continue to shock our collective conscience, to stop this genocide of its own people,” Abubacarr Tambadou told judges of the international court.
He was presenting his arguments, detailing the atrocities committed by Myanmar military in the Rakhine state.
Myanmar has denied the charge of genocide and always insisted it was tackling an extremist threat.
In the initial three-day hearing at the ICJ, the Gambia will ask the court to approve temporary measures to protect the Rohingya.
Myanmar scrapped the citizenship of Rohingya in the 1980s branding them as settlers from neighbouring Bangladesh despite the fact that they were living in Rakhine state for generations. They have long been complained of persecution and in 2017 the military launched a so-called military offensive to drive the ethnic groups out of their homeland.
Unknown number of people have been murdered, women were raped and children were thrown into the fire alive during the “clearance operation” which the United Nations termed ‘a textbook example of ethnic cleansing’.
BBC reported according to the ICJ documents that the military stood accused of “widespread and systematic clearance operations” against the Rohingya, beginning in October 2016 and expanding in August 2017.
The court will hear allegations that the clearances were “intended to destroy the Rohingya as a group, in whole or in part”, via mass murder, rape, and setting fire to their buildings “often with inhabitants locked inside”.
UN fact-finding missions have verified many of the allegations.
In August, a report accused Myanmar soldiers of “routinely and systematically employing rape, gang rape, and other violent and forced sexual acts against women, girls, boys, men and transgender people”.
In May, seven Myanmar soldiers jailed for killing 10 Rohingya men and boys were released early from prison, according to the broadcaster.