Myanmar accused at UN court of genocide against Rohingya

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Gambia's Justice Minister Aboubacarr Tambadou, center, and his delegation leave the Peace Palace, rear, which houses the International Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Monday, Nov. 11, 2019, after filing a case at the United Nations' highest court accusing Myanmar of genocide in its campaign against the Rohingya Muslim minority. A statement released Monday by lawyers for Gambia says the case also asks the International Court of Justice to order measures "to stop Myanmar's genocidal conduct immediately." (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE – Myanmar was accused Monday of genocide at the U.N.'s highest court for its campaign against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority, as lawyers asked the International Court of Justice to urgently order measures "to stop Myanmar's genocidal conduct immediately."

Gambia filed the case on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.

Gambia's justice minister and attorney general, Abubacarr Marie Tambadou, told The Associated Press he wanted to "send a clear message to Myanmar and to the rest of the international community that the world must not stand by and do nothing in the face of terrible atrocities that are occurring around us. It is a shame for our generation that we do nothing while genocide is unfolding right before our own eyes."

Myanmar officials did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Myanmar's military began a harsh counterinsurgency campaign against the Rohingya in August 2017 in response to an insurgent attack. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighboring Bangladesh to escape what has been called an ethnic cleansing campaign involving mass rapes, killings and the torching of homes.

The head of a U.N. fact-finding mission on Myanmar warned last month that "there is a serious risk of genocide recurring."

The mission also said in its final report in September that Myanmar should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against the Rohingya.

The case filed at the International Court of Justice, also known as the world court, alleges that Myanmar's campaign against the Rohingya, which includes "killing, causing serious bodily and mental harm, inflicting conditions that are calculated to bring about physical destruction, imposing measures to prevent births, and forcible transfers, are genocidal in character because they are intended to destroy the Rohingya group in whole or in part."