Wednesday, December 11, 2019 | ePaper

Ghana files case against Myanmar, Bangladesh can't sit idle

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NEWS media on Monday reported that Gambia, which is predominantly a Muslim country, filed a case at the United Nations' top court accusing Myanmar of committing genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority. Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou confirmed it. The International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, is the UNs' top legal institution that rules on disputes between states. 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. 'We have just submitted our application to the ICJ under the Genocide Convention,' Tambadou told a news conference in The Hague, where the court is based. Foley Hoag, the law firm helping Gambia, said it expected the first hearings on the provisional measures to take place next month.
Significantly, Gambia has filed the case against Myanmar at a time when about 1.2 million Rohingyas, who fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar in the face of persecution, have created potential threat to the security not only for Bangladesh but also for the entire region.  Mr Tambadou said: "The aim is to get Myanmar to account for its action against its own people, the Rohingyas. It is a shame for our generation that we do nothing while genocide is unfolding right under our own eyes". The case  has been filed with the support of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Myanmar, which has a Buddhist majority, denies accusations of genocide and said its crackdown targeted militant separatists in Rakhine State.
We think, Bangladesh government also should take initiatives to challenge Myanmar by opening news fronts - legal and diplomatic. When Ghana with the help of OIC and other organisations has able to file a case against Myanmar, there is no reason for Bangladesh to sit idle in this crucial time. Bangladesh government has already sought international cooperation to create pressure on Myanmar for taking back the Rohingyas to their ancestral land. Side by side, a legal battle against Myanmar could be initiated to make it compel to follow international norms.

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