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France, Britain join Gambia’s genocide case against Myanmar

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By Omar Bah

Great Britain, France, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands, and the Maldives are allowed to intervene in Gambia’s Myanmar genocide case with the International Court of Justice, the ICJ said in a statement on Wednesday.

According to the ICJ, the countries had asked to intervene in the case at the court.

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“The seven states concerned will be allowed to submit their written observations on the subject matter of their interventions. The Court will determine at a later date whether they should be authorised to make observations in the course of the oral proceedings,” the ICJ said.

In 2017, Gambia, a predominantly Muslim West African country, filed a case against Myanmar at the ICJ accusing it of committing genocide against the Rohingya, a minority Muslim group in Myanmar.

A United Nations fact-finding mission concluded that a 2017 military campaign by Myanmar that drove 730,000 Rohingya into neighbouring Bangladesh had included “genocidal acts”.

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Myanmar has denied genocide, rejecting the UN findings as “biased and flawed”. It says its crackdown was aimed at Rohingya rebels who had carried out attacks.

The ICJ’s order unanimously accepted the interventions, allowing the states to contribute to the proceedings with their perspectives on the interpretation of the Genocide Convention’s provisions.

The Court declared the Maldives’ intervention under Article 63 of the ICJ Statute admissible, permitting the nation to address the construction of the Genocide Convention’s provisions.

The ICJ also admitted a joint declaration of intervention under Article 63 submitted by Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK.

With this order, the seven states are authorized, in accordance with Article 86 of the Rules of Court, to submit their written observations on the matters pertaining to their interventions.

The ICJ will decide at a later stage whether these states will be allowed to present their observations during the oral proceedings.

The admission of these interventions highlights the international community’s heightened interest and involvement in the legal interpretations of the Genocide Convention as the Court proceeds with this landmark case.

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