Myanmar presents its second round of oral arguments at the Preliminary Objections hearing

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The International Court of Justice (ICJ), principal judicial organ of the UN, holds public hearings (by video link) on the preliminary objections raised by Myanmar in the case concerning Application of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (The Gambia v. Myanmar) at the Peace Palace in The Hague, the seat of the Court, from 21 to 28 February 2022. Sessions held under the presidency of Judge Joan E. Donoghue, President of the Court. The Court’s role is to settle, in accordance with international law, legal disputes submitted to it by States (its Judgments are final and binding) and to give advisory opinions on legal questions referred to it by authorized UN organs and agencies.

Myanmar presents its second round of oral arguments on 25 February 2022 at the 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. 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 and Attorney-General of the Union Dr Thida Oo attend the aforementioned public hearing.
During the second round of oral argument, international advocates and counsels; Dr Christopher Staker, Professor Stefan Talmon and Professor Robert Kolb, presented their arguments to the Court responding to the Gambia’s first round of oral arguments on 23 February 2022. After their arguments, the Agent of Myanmar, Union Minister for International Cooperation, U Ko Ko Hlaing presented the closing statement. In his closing statement, the Agent of Myanmar stated that counsel for The Gambia made many factual and political allegations that were not relevant to the preliminary objections and Myanmar will not respond to these allegations as now is neither the right place nor time to do so. He further stated that these allegations were aimed at intimating to the Members of the Court and the public that the authorities in Myanmar should be considered perpetrators of genocide. He said that Counsel for The Gambia also appears to suggest that the preliminary objections should not be considered seriously as the Court has already rejected them in the previous Provisional Measures Order; and Myanmar is exercising its right as Respondent by submitting these preliminary objections, as clearly foreseen by paragraph 85 of the Provisional Measures Order and has the right not to be prejudged on the merits at the preliminary objections phase. He stated that since The Gambia have used this hearing as a platform to make allegations about the merits, as Agent for Myanmar he cannot just sit here in silence without responding at all. He emphasized that Myanmar is committed to ensuring compliance with the Genocide Convention and Myanmar amended its Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure in conformity with the Convention. He further stated that Myanmar is also implementing its obligations under the Provisional Measures Order and there also are continuous efforts to improve the general situation on the ground. Finally, the Union Minister requested the International Court of Justice to adjudge and declare that the Court lacks jurisdiction to hear the case brought by The Gambia against Myanmar; and/or that The Gambia’s Application is inadmissible.
It is learnt that The Gambia will present its second round of oral arguments on 28 February 2022. — MNA

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