On November 11, 2019 the Republic of The Gambia filed suit against the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”) for violations of the Genocide Convention. This historic lawsuit brings a critical focus to Myanmar’s responsibility as a state for the Rohingya genocide.
The Gambia’s case focuses on Myanmar’s security forces’ so-called “clearance operations” in 2016 and 2017 against the Rohingya, a distinct Muslim ethnic minority, in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. These attacks against Rohingya were massive in scale, ghastly in brutality, and meticulous in coordination. Approximately 800,000 Rohingya fled to Bangladesh in a matter of weeks, with survivors reporting indiscriminate killings, gender-based violence, arbitrary detention, torture, beatings, and forced displacement. Rape and sexual violence were widespread, pervasive, and often conducted in public, to the extent that the United Nations Fact-Finding Mission (“FFM”) found that sexual violence was a hallmark of the Security Forces’ operations.
On January 20, 2021 Myanmar filed preliminary objections in The Gambia v. Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (“ICJ”). The objections challenge The Gambia’s ability to bring its genocide suit against the state of Myanmar.
This fact sheet answers fundamental questions about the Preliminary Objections stage of the ICJ case. (Answers to questions about the early stages of the lawsuit, Myanmar’s responsibility for genocide, and its impact on the Rohingya population are here and here.)