With memories of Rwanda: The Gambian minister taking on Suu Kyi
The genocide case brought against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) - the first of its kind initiated since the 1990s - may not have happened at all but for a scheduling conflict.
In May last year, Gambia's foreign minister pulled out at the last minute from the annual conference of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Bangladesh, sending Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou instead.
For Tambadou, who spent more than a decade prosecuting cases from Rwanda's 1994 genocide, what he saw and heard in Bangladesh jogged some painful memories.
He joined an OIC delegation visiting overcrowded refugee camps in Cox's Bazar, where some of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims who had fled Buddhist-majority Myanmar since August 2017 recounted how, they said, security forces had burnt Rohingya children alive, raped women and killed men.
"I saw genocide written all over these stories," Tambadou said in an interview in Gambia's capital, Banjul.
Authorities in Myanmar, including its de facto leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, have denied almost all allegations made by refugees against its troops, who it says were engaged in legitimate counterterrorism operations.
Tambadou introduced a resolution to create an OIC committee to examine alleged abuses against the Rohingya, and this year convinced the 57-member organisation to back a formal case against Myanmar - thrusting his tiny West African homeland into the centre of one of the most high profile international legal cases in a generation. -Reuters