Canada and Five Other Countries to Join Genocide Case

( – Four countries belonging to the European Union, along with Britain and Canada, are poised to join the genocide case against Myanmar at the United Nation’s world court in The Hague.

Myanmar, or Burma, has long faced international criticism over its cruel treatment of its Muslim Rohingya, a minority ethnic group in the country.

Britain, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, and the Netherlands filed a joint declaration of intervention with the International Court of Justice (ICJ), citing a “common interest” in the prevention and punishment of acts of genocide all over the world.

The action follows the result of a fact-finding mission conducted by the U.N. that showed that a 2017 military campaign in Myanmar resulted in the displacement of 730,000 Rohingya – who were forced to flee to neighboring country Bangladesh – and also included “genocidal acts” that included violence against women and children.

The filing of a joint declaration means that these countries will be allowed to present legal arguments once the trial starts. Myanmar had previously held a protest against a trial, but the ICJ rejected the motions. Myanmar has reasoned that the military operation ostensibly targeted Rohingya insurgent fighters who conducted attacks in its Rakhine state, and called the findings of the U.N. panel “biased and flawed.”

The trial is based on a 1948 convention that prohibits genocide, of which Burma was a signatory. Gambia argues that Myanmar, which has an obligation under the convention to prevent and punish acts of genocide, committed a breach of the convention.

There are around one million Rohingya currently living as refugees in Bangladesh. A great majority suffer from sub-standard living conditions in the refugee camps. There have been recent discussions involving officials from Myanmar and China that have broached the possibility of repatriating some of the refugees back into Myanmar, but many among the Rohingya are apprehensive of a return for fear of reprisals and further violence.

The case against Myanmar in the ICJ was filed in 2019 by Gambia. There is a separate case filed by the Maldives over the same issue.

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