Canada may join The Netherlands in intervening in The Gambia’s lawsuit at the International Court of Justice accusing Myanmar of genocide against the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.
Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit Préfontaine made the indication at the 2nd international conference on “The Rohingya Crisis in Comparative Perspective’ on Friday.
“We consider it our obligation to support the effort before the ICJ which is of concern to all of humanity,” he said.
However, while the full scope of their intervention has yet to be determined, the envoy suggested that Canada intends to pay special attention to crimes related to sexual and gender-based violence, including rape, said a news release issued by the Canadian High Commission in Dhaka.
It added that Canada has been a leading advocate in international fora for accountability for the Rohingya crisis since its outset in August 2017.
Bangladesh has given shelter to more than one million Rohingya, around 740,000 of whom were forced to cross into Cox’s Bazar following a crackdown by Myanmar on them in Rakhine in August 2017.
“Concerted cooperation and coordination with our international partners have significantly advanced international accountability processes to date”, the high commissioner told the conference hosted by the Institute for Risk and Disaster Reduction in collaboration with the Center for Genocide Studies of the University of Dhaka.
It was mentioned that Canada has played a key role in the passing of several resolutions at the United Nations General Assembly and the Human Rights Council.
Canada also worked to establish the Independent Investigative Mechanism for Myanmar.
The diplomat appreciated Bangladesh’s efforts to support both the ICC (International Criminal Court) and ICJ processes including Dhaka’s recent announcement of $500,000 USD to the OIC fund for The Gambia’s legal team.
Canada continues to support the unprecedented investigation underway by the ICC to assess the crime of forced deportation, and to call for the UN Security Council to refer the situation to the ICC, according to the release.
While regretting that more than three years have now passed since the events of August 2017, the high commissioner assured Bangladesh that “Canada is continuing to put pressure on Myanmar to meaningfully address the atrocities committed against the Rohingya”.
Canada also called on Myanmar to implement the provisional measures to prevent all acts of genocide as per the preliminary ruling issued by the ICJ in the Gambia v. Myanmar case on 23 January 2020.
The envoy explained that Canada’s focus on accountability is not just about seeking justice for survivors, but also seeking protection and rights for the Rohingya who remain in Myanmar and those who want to return.
“Addressing impunity and ensuring justice in Myanmar is essential to ensuring a sustainable solution to the crisis.”