Hague hearing offers ray of hope to Bangladesh’s Rohingya

Rohingya refugees stretch their hands to receive aid distributed by local organizations at a refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. (Reuters/File)
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Updated 10 December 2019

Hague hearing offers ray of hope to Bangladesh’s Rohingya

  • International Court of Justice seeks to address atrocities committed by Myanmar

DHAKA: Several members of the Rohingya community in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar expressed optimism on Monday that the International Court of Justice (ICJ) would rule in their favor once it began its three-day hearing against Myanmar on Tuesday.

The case was filed by Gambia on behalf of all Muslim nations from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) with the ICJ over the alleged persecution of the Rohingya by the Myanmar military.

On Nov. 18, the court decided to hold the hearings from Dec.10 to 12. Gambia’s justice minister will lead his country during the hearings.

Both Canada and Bangladesh have been supporting Gambia by providing different data and information regarding the atrocities against the Rohingya.

Myanmar’s state councillor and its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, has already reached  the Netherlands to lead the defense lawyers on behalf of her country at the ICJ.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque will remain present at the courtroom to witness the process.

He will lead a 20-member team, comprising government officials and civil society representatives.

Rohingya at Cox’s Bazar are highly optimistic of securing justice at the ICJ.

“We think justice will be ensured because all international human rights groups, different UN organizations and the international community have got evidence of the persecution on the Rohingya. All of them have visited the refugee camps many times and listened to the plight of the Rohingya,” Sawyed Ullah, a community leader from Jamtoli, told Arab News.

“Also, we have strong evidences of atrocities committed by the Myanmar government to root out the Rohingya from their birth place, Rakhine,” Ullah added.

“Without ensuring accountability, there will not be any safety and justice in Rakhine. Once the accountability is restored,  all of us will be able to go back home.”

Ramjan Ali, another refugee from the Kutupalang camp, said: “Myanmar’s government has forcibly displaced the Rohingya from their own land and that compelled us to shelter here at the refugee camps. Isn’t it enough evidence to justify our allegations against the Myanmar government?”

Ramjan Ali added: “Still the situation in Rakhine is very bad as we receive information from our relatives over there. We need protection from the international forces before any repatriation, and the ICJ’s decision will be helpful for us in this regard.”

Rohingya human rights activist Nay San Lwin, co-founder of the German-based Free Rohingya Coalition described the ICJ’s move as historic.

“It is first ever since we are persecuted. We have been seeking for justice since very long time,” Lwin told Arab News, adding that “finally the case is now at the world court and although it will take several years we are now excited for provisional measures from the court.”

Lwin, along with some 200 Rohingya rights activists from around the world, is set to hold a protest rally at the Hague from Dec. 11 during the ICJ’s hearing.

“We are expecting very much from the ICJ. Regardless whether Myanmar follows the decisions of the court this will have a huge impact. There won’t be any other justice mechanisms if this international court of justice can’t ensure the justice for us,” added Lwin.

Expressing his frustration on the repatriation process, Lwin said that the Myanmar government still had a “genocidal policy” on the Rohingya.

“I don’t think repatriation of the Rohingya will take place soon unless the government is considering to fulfill our demands,” he said.

The ICJ’s final decision will hold strong significance as any decisions taken by the ICJ are binding on member states.

Both Gambia and Myanmar are signatories of the Genocide Convention.

Poll recount confirms Ashraf Ghani as Afghan leader

Updated 41 min 25 sec ago

Poll recount confirms Ashraf Ghani as Afghan leader

  • Audit ends five months after election marred by fraud, intimidation claims

KABUL: Afghanistan’s Independent Election Commission (IEC) on Tuesday confirmed President Ashraf Ghani as the winner of last year’s elections, more than five months after the polls closed.

IEC chief Hawa Alam Nuristani told a news conference in Kabul that Ghani had secured 923,592 votes, or 50.64 percent of the total.

Ghani’s rival, Afghanistan Chief Executive Abdullah Abdullah, gained 720,841 or 39.53 percent of the vote, she said.

The Sept. 28 election was disrupted by Taliban attacks, and marred by claims of intimidation, voting irregularities and fraud.

The IEC had failed on numerous occasions to announce the results in accordance with its election timeline. Two months ago, it said Ghani was on course to win a second term, prompting Abdullah to contest the long-delayed preliminary results.


Ashraf Ghani and Abdullah Abdullah have been sharing power based on a deal brokered by Washington following a highly disputed election in 2014.

He appealed to the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission, demanding the removal of about 300,000 votes allegedly fraudulent votes.

Nuristani said the IEC had declared Ghani the winner following a special audit and recount of the disputed ballots.

The declaration of Ghani’s win and leadership for another five years comes amid announcements by Taliban and US negotiators that a peace deal is expected to be signed within a few days. The agreement follows more than a year of talks in Doha, Qatar.

Ghani and Abdullah have been sharing power based on a deal brokered by Washington following a highly disputed election in 2014.

Both have had sharp differences over the issue of peace talks with the Taliban.