Gambia on Wednesday urged judges at the World Court to reject a challenge by Myanmar to a case brought to halt alleged acts of genocide against its Rohingya Muslim minority, saying the West African state was "no one's proxy".
On Monday Myanmar's junta, which detained civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi in a coup last February, demanded that the United Nations' top court drop the case because Gambia was acting as a proxy for others and had no legal standing to file a case.
"Now more than ever justice within Myanmar is impossible and now, as before, only this court can hold Myanmar accountable for its acts of genocide," Gambia's Attorney General Dawda Jallow said.
The case before the International Court of Justice was brought in 2019 by Gambia, a predominantly Muslim West African country, backed by the 57-nation Organisation for Islamic Cooperation. Both Myanmar and Gambia have signed the 1948 genocide convention.
Gambia argues that Myanmar has violated that treaty, citing events in 2017, when more than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar into neighbouring Bangladesh after a military crackdown. A U.N. fact-finding mission concluded that the military campaign had included "genocidal acts".
Jallow said the UN treaty allowed his nation to file a case against Myanmar.
If it rejects Myanmar's objection, the court is expected to rule on the issue of jurisdiction over the case by the end of the year.
If the case does proceed, a final ruling is likely to take at several years to reach.
(c) 2022, Reuters