The Gambia today filed a memorial of more than 500-pages in its lawsuit against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice, showing how Myanmar government is responsible for genocide against the Rohingyas.
The memorial also includes more than 5000 pages of supporting materials substantiating The Gambia's case. The Gambia opened a case at the ICJ, also known as the World Court, in November last year against Myanmar for failing to prevent or punish genocide against Rohingya Muslims.
After a preliminary hearing, the Court issued an ordered asking Myanmar to take provisional measures to prevent further acts of genocide in Rakhine State, from where some 750,000 Rohingyas fled a brutal military crackdown.
After the Gambia's initial filing, the ICJ found there was substance in their claims. Based on that, it ordered Myanmar to take provisional orders and agreed to go further with the case. That's why, The Gambia has filed the memorial.
"This is a significant step towards Rohingya justice," said Dr Mizanur Rahman, law professor at Dhaka University and an expert on international law.
But the success of the case will depend on the strength of the evidence included in the memorial, he added.
Following filing by The Gambia, Myanmar has three months to file a counter-memorial at the ICJ. The Memorial and Counter-Memorial will not be made public for the duration of the trial, which is expected to last several years, said regional rights body Fortify Rights in a statement.
"It is another step towards justice for Rohingya," said Matthew Smith, chief executive officer at Fortify Rights. International accountability mechanisms, like the ICJ, are crucial, especially given that mass atrocity crimes continue against Rohingya and others in Myanmar, he added.
Myanmar should immediately comply with ICJ orders to prevent ongoing acts of genocide and preserve evidence of genocide against Rohingya Muslims, said Fortify Rights.