ICJ begins oral arguments in Myanmar genocide case
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ICJ begins oral arguments in Myanmar genocide case

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) Monday began hearing oral arguments in a case to determine whether Myanmar has violated the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Genocide Convention).

The Gambia filed an application instituting proceedings against Myanmar concerning alleged violations of the Genocide Convention on November 11, 2019. The Gambia also filed an application for the indication of provisional measures. In the proceedings that ensued, the court granted certain provisional measures. Myanmar then made preliminary objections to the court’s jurisdiction and the admissibility of the Application.

Representatives of Myanmar raised four objections. They argued that the ICJ lacks jurisdiction because the applicant is actually the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, and, per Article 34, only states may be parties in cases before the court. Myanmar also questioned the standing of The Gambia given that the alleged acts of genocide were committed outside its territory against non-Gambians. Myanmar also objected to the case pursuant reservations the country made to Article VIII of the Genocide Convention. Lastly, Myanmar argued that there was no dispute with The Gambia when the application was submitted.

Since the last public sitting in the case, the composition of the court and the representation of the state parties changed. Notably, the state of Myanmar was represented by the junta in light of the military coup. The Gambia is scheduled to argue before the court on Wednesday.