Foley Hoag Helps The Gambia Secure Historic Unanimous ICJ Order to Stop Genocide in Myanmar

January 23, 2020

Foley Hoag has helped the Republic of The Gambia secure a unanimous and binding Order from the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague to prevent further acts of genocide from occurring against the Rohingya group in Myanmar. 

In an historic, unanimous decision released on 23 January 2020, the Court approved provisional measures requested by The Gambia, and rejected entirely Myanmar’s request for the Court to dismiss the case. The Court agreed with The Gambia that the Rohingya who remain in Myanmar are at risk of ongoing genocidal acts, and that they need the urgent protection of the Court during the pendency of The Gambia’s case against Myanmar. The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is the principal judicial organ of the United Nations.

The Court unanimously ordered Myanmar to take all measures within its power to prevent the commission of all acts of genocide against the Rohingya, including killings, causing serious bodily or mental harm, inflicting conditions of life calculated to bringing about their physical destruction, and imposing measures to restrict births. The Court also ordered Myanmar and all units under its direction, control, or influence to not commit genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, incitement to genocide, attempt to commit genocide, or complicity in genocide. Myanmar was also ordered to preserve all evidence relating to allegations of the crime of genocide, and to report back to the Court in four months and then every 6 months thereafter on its compliance with the Order. All of these orders are binding upon Myanmar under international law.

Foley Hoag, which specializes in representing States before the International Court of Justice and other international courts and arbitral tribunals, was chosen by The Gambia to lead its legal team in these proceedings. The firm’s team of lawyers on this case include partners Paul Reichler, Larry Martin, Andrew Loewenstein and Tafadzwa Pasipanodya; counsel Arsalan Suleman and special counsel Professor Pierre d’Argent; and associates Rebecca Gerome, Peter Tzeng, Yasmin Al Ameen, Dario Maestro, and Diem Ho. Prominent international human rights lawyers Professor Philippe Sands of University College London and Matrix Chambers, Professor Payam Akhavan of McGill University in Montreal, and Jessica Jones of Matrix Chambers are also part of The Gambia’s legal team.