Myanmar Junta Fight For Recognition At Top U.N. Court
The top United Nations court in The Hague next week will treat Myanmar’s military junta as the country's de iure government.
The next week's hearings will address a jurisdictional dispute arising from Gambia’s claim filed in 2019 at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), also known as the World Court, accusing Myanmar of genocide against its minority Muslim Rohingya population.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar after a military-led crackdown in 2017 and were forced into squalid camps across the border in Bangladesh. U.N. investigators concluded that the military campaign had been executed with “genocidal intent”.
Before the fall of Aung San Suu Kyi’s civilian National Unity Government to a military coup a year ago, she disputed the genocide allegations against the military brought by Gambia, a mainly Muslim African country backed in this case by the 57-nation Organisation for Islamic Cooperation.
Now, junta representatives are expected to attend virtual hearings at the ICJ – which handles disputes between states – addressing preliminary objections to jurisdiction filed by Myanmar in January 2021. Hearings are set to begin on Monday.
The junta is not the government of Myanmar, said Christopher Sidoti, a human rights lawyer and former member of the U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar.
The junta has neither the authority nor the ability to act as the government of Myanmar at home or abroad. But by appearing before the ICJ, that is exactly what it will be attempting to do, Sidoti told media.