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Gam­bia filed a case yes­ter­day at the United Na­tions’ high­est court ac­cus­ing Myan­mar of geno­cide in its cam­paign against the Ro­hingya Mus­lim mi­nor­ity.

Lawyers for Gam­bia said the case also asks the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice to ur­gently or­der mea­sures “to stop Myan­mar’s geno­ci­dal con­duct im­me­di­ately”.

Gam­bia filed the case on be­half of the Or­gan­i­sa­tion of Is­lamic Co-oper­a­tion.

Myan­mar’s mil­i­tary be­gan a harsh cam­paign against the Ro­hingya in Au­gust 2017 in re­sponse to an in­sur­gent at­tack. More than 700,000 Ro­hingya fled to neigh­bour­ing Bangladesh to es­cape what has been called an eth­nic cleans­ing cam­paign in­volv­ing mass rapes, killings and burn­ing of their homes.

The head of a UN fact-find­ing mis­sion on Myan­mar said last month that “there is a se­ri­ous risk of geno­cide re­cur­ring”.

The mis­sion also said in its fi­nal re­port in Septem­ber that Myan­mar should be held re­spon­si­ble in in­ter­na­tional le­gal fo­rums for al­leged geno­cide against the Ro­hingya.

The case filed at the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice, some­times known as the World Court,

claims Myan­mar’s “killing, cam­paign caus­ing against se­ri­ous the Rodes bod­ily and men­tal harm, in­flict­ing con­di­tions that are cal­cu­lated to bring about phys­i­cal de­struc­tion, im­pos­ing mea­sures to pre­vent births, and forcible trans­fers are geno­ci­dal in char­ac­ter be­cause they are in­tended to de­stroy the Ro­hingya group in whole or in part”.

At­tor­ney Gen­eral and Min­is­ter of Jus­tice Abubacarr Marie Tam­badou said: “Gam­bia is tak­ing this ac­tion to seek jus­tice and ac­count­abil­ity for the geno­cide be­ing com­mit­ted by Myan­mar against the Ro­hingya, and to up­hold and strengthen the global norm against geno­cide that is bind­ing upon all states.”

The In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court’s chief pros­e­cu­tor Fa­tou Ben­souda also asked judges in July for per­mis­sion to open a for­mal in­ves­ti­ga­tion into crimes against hu­man­ity com­mit­ted against Ro­hingya Mus­lims from Myan­mar.

Mrs Ben­souda said she wants to in­ves­ti­gate crimes of de­por­ta­tion, in­hu­mane acts and per­se­cu­tion al­legedly com­mit­ted as Ro­hingya were driven from Myan­mar, which is not a mem­ber of the global court, into Bangladesh, which is.

The In­ter­na­tional Crim­i­nal Court holds in­di­vid­u­als re­spon­si­ble for crimes while the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice set­tles dis­putes be­tween na­tions. Both courts are in The Hague.

Myan­mar’s UN am­bas­sador, Hau Do Suan, last month called the UN fact-find­ing mis­sion “one-sided” and based on “mislead­ing in­for­ma­tion and sec­ondary sources.”

He said that Myan­mar’s gov­ern­ment takes ac­count­abil­ity se­ri­ously and that per­pe­tra­tors of all hu­man rights vi­o­la­tions “caus­ing the large out­flow of dis­placed per­sons to Bangladesh” must be held ac­count­able.

Wong Maye-E / AP

Ro­hingya Mus­lims in Ku­tu­pa­long and Gun­dum refugee camp in Bangladesh in 2017. All said they were raped by Myan­mar’s armed forces

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