Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at World Court - justice minister

Yasmin Ullah talks to journalists in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, after Gambia filed of a case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the United Nations' highest court, accusing Myanmar of genocide in its campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority. (AP)
Updated 11 November 2019

Gambia files Rohingya genocide case against Myanmar at World Court - justice minister

  • Gambia said it was acting on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in bringing the case against Myanmar
  • The lawsuit accuses mainly Buddhist Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through a brutal military campaign targeting the Rohingya

THE HAGUE: Myanmar faced accusations of genocide in a landmark lawsuit filed by Gambia at the UN’s top court on Monday over the Southeast Asian nation’s treatment of Rohingya Muslims, Gambia’s government said.
Gambia said it was acting on behalf of the 57-nation Organization of Islamic Cooperation in bringing the case against Myanmar before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
The lawsuit accuses mainly Buddhist Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through a brutal military campaign targeting the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.
The 2017 crackdown forced 740,000 Rohingya to flee over the border into sprawling camps in Bangladesh, in violence that United Nations investigators say amounts to “genocide.”
“The Gambia is taking this action to seek justice and accountability for the genocide being committed by Myanmar against the Rohingya,” Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said in a statement.

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The court is expected to hold its first hearings in December on Gambia’s request for urgent interim measures “to protect the Rohingya against further harm,” Gambia’s lawyers Foley Hoag said in a statement, describing the case as “historic.”
Human Rights Watch hailed the move by the tiny west African state, saying it was the “first judicial scrutiny” of Myanmar’s alleged crimes against the Rohingya.
Param-Preet Singh, associate international justice director at HRW, said the court’s “prompt adoption of provisional measures could help stop the worst ongoing abuses” in Myanmar.
The lawsuit asks the ICJ to “order Myanmar to cease and desist from its genocidal acts, to punish the perpetrators, and to provide reparations for the Rohingya victims,” Gambia’s justice ministry said.
It said Myanmar had failed to meet its obligations to prevent and to punish genocide, accusing it of “wanton acts of violence and malicious degradation with the specific intent of state actors to destroy the Rohingya as a group.”
Mainly-Muslim Gambia said it had “stepped up” to file the case on behalf of the rest of the OIC. Tambadou is a former genocide prosecutor at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and has visited Rohingya camps in Bangladesh.
Other legal attempts to bring Myanmar to justice over allegations of crimes against the Rohingya have so far stalled.
The prosecutor for the International Criminal Court — a separate tribunal from the ICJ that investigates war crimes — launched a preliminary investigation into Myanmar in 2018 but no charges have been filed yet.
UN investigators have also called on the UN Security Council to refer Myanmar to the Hague-based ICC or to set up a tribunal, like for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda, but again no action has yet been taken.
The ICJ was set up in 1946 after World War II to adjudicate in disputes between UN member states.
It normally deals with issues of international law such as border disputes, but sometimes rules on alleged breaches of UN conventions such as those on terrorism or genocide.
The ICJ previously dealt with a genocide case when Bosnia brought a lawsuit against Serbia over the conflict in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s.
That case ended in 2007 with Serbia being held to have failed to prevent genocide during the 1995 Srebrenica massacre and of failing to cooperate with war crimes tribunals.


East China cities quarantine arrivals as virus spreads in S. Korea, Japan

Commuters wearing protective face masks amid fears of the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus ride an elevated train in Bangkok. (AFP)
Updated 26 February 2020

East China cities quarantine arrivals as virus spreads in S. Korea, Japan

  • South Korea has reported 10 deaths and almost 1,000 infections, while Japan has 159 confirmed cases, not including 691 on a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo

BEIJING: The eastern Chinese city of Qingdao is imposing a 14-day quarantine on all arrivals, state media reported on Tuesday, as China moves to address the threat of a rise in coronavirus cases in neighboring South Korea and nearby Japan.
People with suspected virus symptoms arriving in Qingdao, a major Northeast Asian transport hub in Shandong province, should be isolated in designated hospitals, while others are required to stay at their residences or designated hotels, the official Xinhua news agency said.
The rule came into force on Monday, Xinhua added, citing a local government statement.
“Apparently 100,000 South Koreans live in Qingdao, and there are normally over 300 flights a week between Seoul and Qingdao,” Michael Pettis, a finance professor at Peking University, said on Twitter. “This is likely to be disruptive to both economies.”
Another Shandong city, Weihai, said it would quarantine arrivals from Japan and South Korea from Tuesday — the first country-specific compulsory quarantine requirement by China, which has criticized travel restrictions implemented by other countries.
The measures comes as the virus, which started in China’s Hubei province, takes hold beyond the country.
South Korea has reported 10 deaths and almost 1,000 infections, while Japan has 159 confirmed cases, not including 691 on a cruise ship that was quarantined near Tokyo.
Weihai is also home to a sizeable Korean expatriate community. It lies near the eastern tip of the Shandong peninsula across the Yellow Sea from South Korea, and its quarantine rules apply both to Chinese and foreign nationals arriving in the city.
They will be put up in hotels free of charge for a 14-day quarantine period, according to a notice on the city’s official Wechat account.

HIGHLIGHTS

● Qingdao imposes 14-day quarantine on all arrivals.

● Shandong city Weihai singles out S. Korea, Japan arrivals.

● S. Korea has almost 1,000 cases; Japan cases up.

People who arrived in Weihai from South Korea or Japan from Feb. 10 onwards have already been contacted by the Weihai government, the statement said, adding it had “appropriately handled” cases of fever.
The government of a third Shandong port city, Yantai, on Tuesday said all business travelers and short-term visitors should stay in designated hotels.
Further north in China’s Liaoning province, the city of Liaoning — home to both North Korean and South Korean communities — is tightening screening of inbound passengers and will check the temperature of all arrivals, state broadcaster CCTV reported.
Sweden’s health agency said it would not introduce airport controls that take up resources but are “ineffective” because infected people may not show symptoms.
Ukraine International Airlines onboard personnel will wear rubber gloves and masks on flights from Italy.
Meanwhile, the drugmaker Moderna has shipped a potential coronavirus vaccine for humans to government researchers for testing.
Shares of the biotech company soared, a day after the company said it sent vials to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases for early-stage testing in the US.