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Myanmar delegation attends the public hearing related to Preliminary Objections raised by Myanmar

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The International Court of Justice is holding a public hearing relating to the preliminary objections raised by Myanmar concerning the application filed by the Gambia alleging Myanmar of violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, from 21 February to 28 February 2022, at the Peace Palace, in The Hague, the Netherlands. The Myanmar delegation led by the Agent of Myanmar, Union Minister for International Cooperation U Ko Ko Hlaing and the Alternate Agent of Myanmar, Union Minister for Legal Affairs Attorney-General of the Union Dr Thida Oo is attending the aforementioned public hearing.
During Myanmar’s first round of oral argument on 21 February 2022, the Agent of Myanmar, Union Minister for International Cooperation U Ko Ko Hlaing presented the opening statement. In his opening statement, the Agent of Myanmar stated that in arguing that the Court lacks jurisdiction or that the case is inadmissible, Myanmar is not, therefore, seeking to impede the judicial processes of the Court, in fact, Myanmar is seeking to ensure the proper administration of justice. He further stated that the arguments that the Court will be hearing over the next days are important and they have significant implications for the future functioning of the Court in general and they have implications for any inter-State case brought before any international court or tribunal. The Agent said that the Government of Myanmar is determined to solve these complex problems, which include consequences of former colonial rule over Burma and India, through peaceful means of negotiation and reconciliation. He added that the tripartite diplomatic discussion between Myanmar, Bangladesh and China has been undertaken for preparation of the process for repatriations to Rakhine State from Bangladesh, the working groups from Myanmar and Bangladesh are now closely cooperating for verification of the list of displaced persons who want to be repatriated voluntarily in accordance with the bilateral agreement between these States. And within Myanmar’s territory, internally displaced persons, IDPs, in IDP camps in Rakhine State are receiving the Covid-19 vaccination on par with other members of the population generally. The Agent also stated that the projects for closing IDP camps and arranging the return of IDPs back to their normal lives are underway. He further stated that these ongoing developments demonstrate the will of the government to find effective and constructive ways forward in Rakhine State. The Agent added that the Government of Myanmar is also committed to respecting Myanmar’s existing obligations as a party in these proceedings and is diligently implementing the provisional measures indicated by Court, and are submitting regular reports as called for in the Provisional Measures Order.
Then, Dr Christopher Staker presented the Myanmar first preliminary objection that the Court lacks jurisdiction, or alternatively, the application is inadmissible, as the real applicant in these proceedings is the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, not The Gambia. After that Professor Stefan Talmon argued Myanmar’s second preliminary objection which states the application is inadmissible, as The Gambia lacks standing to bring this case before the Court under Article IX of the Genocide Convention. Professor Robert Kolb then presented to the Court that the application is inadmissible, as The Gambia cannot validly seize the Court due to Myanmar’s reservation to Article VIII of the Genocide Convention as Myanmar’s third preliminary objection. Finally, Dr Christopher Staker argued that the Court lacks jurisdiction, or alternatively, the application is inadmissible, as there was no established legal dispute between The Gambia and Myanmar on the date of filing of the Application instituting proceedings as a fourth preliminary objection.
It is learnt that the Gambia will present its first round of oral arguments on 23 February 2022. Then Myanmar will make its second round of oral argument on 25 February 2022, followed by Gambia’s second round of oral argument on 28 February 2022. —MNA

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