Maldives File Declaration of Intervention in Myanmar Genocide Case at the International Court of Justice

November 16th, 2023  •  Author:   The Republic of Maldives  •  3 minute read

Date: 16 November 2023

The Republic of Maldives has filed a declaration to intervene in the case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) concerning the alleged genocide committed against the Rohingyas in Myanmar.

The case was brought by The Gambia against Myanmar, alleging that acts committed by Myanmar’s military and security forces against members of the Rohingya group in Myanmar’s Rakhine State from 2016 onwards constitute genocide, in violation of the 1948 Genocide Convention.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Maldives announced the Maldives’ decision to seek to intervene in the case on 25 February 2020, shortly after the proceedings were launched, becoming the first state and currently the only state from the Global South to do so.

The Maldives’ declaration focuses on the construction of the duty to punish genocide under the Genocide Convention.

The Agent of the Republic of Maldives in this case, Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath, states:

“The Maldives’ intervention in this case is a testament to the unwavering solidarity of the Maldivian people with Muslims across the world, and the unified condemnation by the Maldives, of atrocities of genocide worldwide.”

The Minister of Foreign Affairs states:

“The decision of the Maldives to intervene stems from its support to ongoing efforts to secure accountability for the perpetrators of genocide against the Rohingya people, in line with the decision taken by the OIC. The Maldives firmly supports The Gambia in this endeavour.”

The Republic of Maldives is represented by Amal Clooney Amal Clooney, a barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, and Professor Philippa Webb, a barrister at Twenty Essex.

Ms Clooney comments:

“This case before the International Court of Justice is an important step towards accountability for the genocide in Myanmar. It is an honour to participate in a process that could lead to legal recognition of the genocide by the principal judicial organ of the United Nations, as well as remedies for Rohingya survivors.”

Professor Webb adds:

“States have been turning to the ICJ for the authoritative interpretation and application of the Genocide Convention for over seven decades. This case is an opportunity to advance the protection offered by this important treaty.”

Note to editors:

Whenever the construction of a treaty is in question, the International Court of Justice permits state parties to the treaty (other than those that are already parties to the case) to intervene under article 63 of its Statute. The Republic of Maldives, as a party to the Genocide Convention, has a right to intervene on this basis. Canada, France, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom have also indicated an intention to intervene as parties to the Genocide Convention. This is the second recent case before the ICJ in which multiple states have sought to intervene in the proceedings, the first being a case brought by Ukraine against Russia, also under the Genocide Convention, with 32 states intervening.

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