(Nov. 29, 2019) On November 11, 2019, the Republic of The Gambia (The Gambia) instituted proceedings against the Republic of the Union of Myanmar (Myanmar) before the International Court of Justice (ICJ), alleging violations of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The Gambia’s submission is also supported by the other 56 member countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Additionally, on November 14, 2019, the International Criminal Court (ICC) authorized the ICC prosecutor to proceed with an investigation of crimes against humanity committed on the Myanmar/Bangladesh border. Myanmar is not a state party to the Rome Statute, so the jurisdiction of the ICC does not apply; however, Bangladesh has been a state party to the Rome Statute since 2010. The ICC investigation was officially initiated in July 2019 on behalf of hundreds of thousands of alleged victims of deportation and other violence under the ICC’s jurisdiction.
As has been widely reported, the Rohingya people have a history of being displaced from Myanmar’s Rakhine State, most recently starting in late August 2017. As the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) notes,
[t]he Rohingya people have faced decades of systematic discrimination, statelessness and targeted violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar. Such persecution has forced Rohingya women, girls, boys and men into Bangladesh for many years, with significant spikes following violent attacks in 1978, 1991–1992, and again in 2016. Yet it was August 2017 that triggered by far the largest and fastest refugee influx into Bangladesh. Since then, an estimated 745,000 Rohingya—including more than 400,000 children—have fled into Cox’s Bazar [Bangladesh].