Judges at the UN’s top court dismiss objections to a case alleging Myanmar is responsible for genocide against the Rohingya minority.
Judges at the United Nations’ highest court have dismissed preliminary objections by Myanmar to a case alleging the Southeast Asian nation is responsible for genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority.
The decision on Friday clears the way for the highly charged case, brought by Gambia, to go ahead at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in full, a process that could take years.
Myanmar, now ruled by a military junta that seized power in 2021, had argued that Gambia, which brought the suit, had no standing to do so at the ICJ.
But presiding Judge Joan Donoghue said the 13 judge panel found that all members of the 1948 Genocide Convention can and are obliged to act to prevent genocide, and the court has jurisdiction in the case.
“Gambia, as a state party to the Genocide convention, has standing,” she said, reading a summary of the ruling. The court will now proceed to hearing the merits of the case, a process that will take years.
While the court’s decisions are binding and countries generally follow them, it has no way of enforcing them.
In a 2020 provisional decision it ordered Myanmar to protect the Rohingya from genocide, a legal victory that established their right under international law as a protected minority.