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World Court has scheduled hearings on the Rohingya genocide case for February

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi attends a hearing in a case filed by Gambia against Myanmar alleging genocide against the minority Muslim Rohingya population, at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands December 10, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman

In a new series of hearings beginning Feb. 21, representatives of Myanmar’s junta are expected to contest the World Court’s jurisdiction to hear charges that the country committed genocide against its Rohingya minority, according to the attorney general of Gambia, which initiated the case.

The news: On the 21st of February, 2022, a hybrid hearing will begin, mentioned Gambian Attorney General, Dawda Jallow. He went on to add that Aung San Suu Kyi, who led Myanmar’s defence at the first public hearings in 2019 but was removed by the military since then, had been formally replaced as the country’s chief representative in the case.

  • Due to COVID-19 measures, a hybrid hearing is a procedure in which some participants are present in person and others engage online.

What happened: After a military crackdown in Myanmar in 2017, more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh, where they were forced to live in filthy camps. The military campaign was carried out with genocidal intent, according to UN investigators.

  • A representative for the International Court of Justice (ICJ) failed to disclose if new hearing dates had been set.
  • Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s civilian leader at the time, personally attended hearings in The Hague in December 2019 to beg judges to dismiss the case.
  • She was toppled in a coup in 2021, sentenced to six years in prison, and faces several charges. Protests erupted in response to the army’s takeover of the democratically elected government.
  • The military government has fought for international recognition and may be eager to demonstrate its legitimacy as Myanmar’s legitimate representatives before the United Nations’ top court.

What’s going on: According to sources close to the issue, the junta has been working with the court to submit court-ordered reports on the Rohingya situation every six months.

  • The reports aren’t available to the general public.
  • Myanmar’s challenge to the court’s jurisdiction is the next phase in the ICJ proceedings.
  • Later sessions will address the question of whether genocide was committed in Myanmar.

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