During an interview over phone with Washington Post, Tambadou detailed on why Gambia, of all countries in the world, ventured forward with a bilateral issue of Myanmar-Bangladesh, sitting approximately 10,900 km away from the two countries.
The horrific tales of killings, of rape, of torture, of burning people alive in their homes brought back memories of the Rwandan genocide experienced, with which he could relate the current abhorrent conditions of the exiled Muslim populous of Myanmar's Rakhine state – the Rohingyas.
In May 2018, Abubacarr M. Tambadou, Gambia's attorney general and justice minister, who also worked for years as a lawyer at the United Nations (UN) tribunal focused on the 1994 genocide in Rwanda, visited a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar of Bangladesh after reading a UN report last year.
The report detailed how an army crackdown in Buddhist-majority Myanmar had claimed the lives of thousands of Rohingya in 2017, driving out more than 700,000 residents into neighboring Bangladesh.
In the camps, he experienced the incessant suffering of the Rohingya people first hand.
The story behind why such a tiny player chose to tackle a distant conflict branched out from personal experiences of genocide and enticed Tambadou to file the case against Myanmar on behalf of Gambia and take the issue to the world court in hopes of bringing justice.
During an interview over the phone with Washington Post, Tambadou detailed on why the Gambia, of all countries in the world, ventured forward with a bilateral issue of Myanmar-Bangladesh, sitting approximately 10,900 km away from the two countries.
"Part of the reason we were motivated to be involved in this case was because of our own experiences," Tambadou began.
On November 11, this tiny west African nation filed a lawsuit at the United Nations' top court accusing the Asian nation Myanmar of genocide, systematic displacement and widespread sexual assault on the Rohingya Muslim marginalized population of Rakhine state.
Myanmar's act of violence and terror forced hundreds and thousands of the marginalized inhabitants to flee the Asian nation and live as refugees in neighboring Muslim-majority Bangladesh.
The feat by the meager Gambia was unprecedented, if not confounding, in the wake of international justice and humanity.
In the suit, filed at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Gambia requested that the court condemn Myanmar for violating the Genocide Convention with its campaign of ethnic cleansing.
Tambadou, recalling the dark days of Rwanda under the dictatorship of former president Yahya Jammeh, voiced that if the international community mediated and condemned the crimes against humanity inflicted against the country, Gambia could have been spared from the two decades of atrocities its people endured.
"The world failed to help in 1994, and the world is failing to protect vulnerable people 25 years later."
"Genocide is considered an injury against everybody - a general wrong - which allows any state to take this up," Tambadou said, adding, "Little Gambia is acting for the whole world."
Putting Gambia's plans into play
Legal endeavors of such nature tend to drag on for years and cost millions of dollars, which is a heavy lift for a country with a gross domestic product of about $1.48 billion.
Supporters with deep pockets, however, are helping the Gambia financially.
The Muslim-majority nation of 2 million people is backed by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), a group of 57 states that calls itself the "voice of the Muslim World," and by the US law firm Foley Hoag.
In the interim, the lawyers are seeking what is known as "provisional measures" - an order demanding Myanmar to stop harming the Rohingyas while the court considers the full case. The judges at The Hague-based court could rule on that as early as next month.
The Gambia also requested that the International Court of Justice issue an urgent temporary injunction ordering Myanmar to halt all actions that could aggravate or expand the existing situation. That could mean a demand to stop further extrajudicial killings, rape, hate speech, or leveling of the homes where Rohingya once lived in Rakhine State.
The African nation is thrusting the Rohingya's plight back into the spotlight a year after prosecutors at the International Criminal Court launched an inquiry into the case.
That court, however, has no jurisdiction over proceedings in Myanmar, which is not a member country, so efforts stalled.
But the 15 judges of the ICJ can rule on disputes stemming from the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, which applies to the killing of, "in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group."
Gambia and Myanmar are signatories to the pact.
According to experts, if the UN court accepts the case, it will draw renewed attention to the immense suffering of the Rohingya people regardless of the final outcome, most of whom fled to Bangladesh and now live in refugee camps there.