On 22 July 2022, the International Court of Justice in The Hague delivered its judgment 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). The Gambia’s application instituting proceedings before the Court, filed on 11 November 2019, alleges violations by Myanmar of the Genocide Convention.
Myanmar raised four preliminary objections to the jurisdiction of the Court and/or to the admissibility of The Gambia’s application.
The first preliminary objection was that the Court lacked jurisdiction, or alternatively that the application was inadmissible, on the ground that the real applicant in the proceedings was the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (the “OIC”), an international organization, which was not able to be a party to a case before the Court and which was not a party to the Genocide Convention.
The second preliminary objection was that the application was inadmissible because The Gambia lacked standing to bring the case against Myanmar under the Genocide Convention, as The Gambia was a non-injured State that had failed to demonstrate an individual legal interest.
The third preliminary objection was that the Court lacked jurisdiction, or alternatively that the application was inadmissible, because The Gambia could not validly seise the Court under the Genocide Convention, due to Myanmar’s reservation to Article VIII of that Convention.
The fourth preliminary objection was that the Court lacked jurisdiction, or alternatively that the application was inadmissible, because there was no dispute between The Gambia and Myanmar on the date of filing of the application instituting proceedings.
The Court unanimously rejected the first, third and fourth preliminary objections, and rejected the second by 15 votes to one. Judge Xue appended a dissenting opinion, and voted against the rejection of the second preliminary objection and against the finding that the Court has jurisdiction and that the application is admissible.
Christopher Staker was lead counsel for Myanmar.