Judgement of the International Court of Justice (ICJ)
on the preliminary objections raised by Myanmar
The Republic of the Union of Myanmar takes note of today’s decision by the International Court of Justice to reject the preliminary objections raised by Myanmar relating to the application filed by The Gambia on 11 November 2019, alleging violations by Myanmar of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
Myanmar submitted four preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court to deal with the merits of the application and to the admissibility of the case on 20 January 2021. The first preliminary objection was that the court lacks jurisdiction or that the case is inadmissible on the ground that The Gambia serves as a nominal applicant for the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (the “OIC”) and that the real applicant in these proceedings is the OIC, an international organization. The second preliminary objection was that The Gambia lacks standing to bring the case against Myanmar under Article IX of the Genocide Convention as it is a non-injured Contracting Party to the Convention. The third preliminary objection was that The Gambia, as a non-injured Contracting Party to the Genocide Convention, may not seise the Court with a case arising under that Convention since Myanmar made a reservation to its Article VIII. The fourth preliminary objection was that the Court lacks jurisdiction or that the case is inadmissible as there was no dispute between The Gambia and Myanmar on the date of filing of the Application instituting proceedings.
The International Court of Justice held public hearings on the preliminary objections raised by Myanmar from 21 February to 28 February 2022, at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands. The Myanmar delegation was led by H.E. U Ko Ko Hlaing, Agent of Myanmar and Union Minister for International Cooperation and H.E. Dr. Thi Da Oo, Alternate Agent of Myanmar, Union Minister and Union Attorney General, Ministry of Legal Affairs. International counsels and advocates presented Myanmar’s arguments before the Court.
The preliminary objections raised by Myanmar were believed to be strong as a matter of law and matter of fact. Myanmar notes that Judge Xue Hanqin issued a dissenting opinion, and voted against the Court’s finding that it has jurisdiction and that the application is admissible. Myanmar is disappointed that its preliminary objections were rejected, while it notes that the Court has now determined the matter. Myanmar noted that this judgement will become not only a source of international law but also set a precedent for future cases.
Myanmar reaffirms its position in a declaration over the ratification of the Convention and respects its obligations under the Convention without any violation of them. At the same time, Myanmar will endeavour its utmost efforts to safeguard the Country’s sovereignty and national interest and continue to undertake appropriate steps for the country.
Ministry of International Cooperation
23 July 2022