Canada and the Netherlands announced Wednesday that they will jointly aid with legal issues in the ongoing genocide case brought by The Gambia against Myanmar in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).
In November 2019, The Gambia filed a case against Myanmar at the ICJ, alleging that Myanmar committed genocide against the Rohingya ethnic group in violation of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. The ICJ began its first round of hearings in December 2019, and it ruled unanimously in January that Myanmar had to take “provisional measures” to prevent ongoing genocide of the remaining Rohingya in Myanmar.
In their announcement, Canada and the Netherlands promised to jointly aid in the case. They also stated that The Gambia’s case showed discrimination against and persecution of the Rohingya, which created conditions for Myanmar’s security forces to “perpetrate targeted and systemic atrocities.” These “atrocities” included genocide through means such as mass murder, sexual violence, and denied access to necessities. As a result, over 850,000 Rohingya had fled since 2016.
In explaining their decision to assist, Canada and the Netherlands said:
The Genocide Convention embodies the solemn pledge to prevent the crime of genocide and hold those responsible to account. In bringing this application to the ICJ, The Gambia took a laudable step towards ending impunity for those committing atrocities in Myanmar and upholding this pledge. Canada and the Netherlands consider it our obligation to support these efforts which are of concern to all of humanity. As part of this intervention, Canada and the Kingdom of the Netherlands will assist with the complex legal issues that are expected to arise and will pay special attention to crimes related to sexual and gender based violence, including rape.
The two countries have also encouraged other countries to follow suit, stating that state parties to the Genocide Convention must resolve to prevent genocide and hold perpetrators to account.