Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi defended her government from accusations of genocide against the Rohingya Muslim community at the United Nation’s top court on Wednesday. She called the allegations “incomplete and misleading.”
According to details, the Myanmar leader has been summoned before the International Court of Justice, the UN’s highest court with allegations that the country has violated the 1948 Genocide Convention.
The case was launched by Gambia, a small West African country against Myanmar.
At the court in The Hague, Myanmar’s top political leader and a Nobel Peace prize laureate Suu Kyi defensed herself
She said that she has acknowledged disproportionate force may have been used at times by the military, but said the conflict in the western Rakhine state was “complex and not easy to fathom”.
She said “Gambia has placed an incomplete and misleading picture of the factual situation in Rakhine state in Myanmar”.
Rohingya Refugee Crisis
More than 740,000 Rohingya to fled into neighboring Bangladesh in 2015 during the ensuing violence. The Muslim survivors have recounted disturbing atrocities including gang-rape, mass killings, torture and widespread destruction of property at the hands of the Myanmar (Burma) army.
However, Myanmar argues it calling a military “clearance operations” in Rakhine. The country made a justification before ICJ to its acts of terrorism, and that its army has acted appropriately.
At the top court, Gambia detailed graphic testimony of suffering of Rohingya at the hands of the Myanmar military.
Gambia’s legal team shared a photograph of the Myanmar leader with three smiling generals before the courtroom. These generals are also Myanmar government’s ministers — Lieutenant General Ye Aung, Lieutenant General Sein Win and Lieutenant General Kyaw Swe.
The photograph was shown as evidence of what they said were her close ties to the military.
The comment brought widespread reaction from her supporters who denounced it on social media as an attempt to mock her.
Hearing in ICJ
The ICJ case is the first international legal attempt to hold Myanmar accountable for the Rohingya crisis. Based in The Hague, the 15 judges of the ICJ are tasked in part with settling legal disputes between states.
In three days of hearings this week, judges are hearing the first phase of the case: Gambia’s request for “provisional measures” — the equivalent of a restraining order against Myanmar to protect the Rohingya population until the case is heard in full.
The plaintiff, Gambia has debated it is every country’s duty under the convention to prevent genocide from taking place.
It is worth noting here that Gambia has political support from the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), Canada and the Netherlands.
Referring to Rohingya crisis, the legal threshold in ICJ for a finding of genocide is high.
It is pertinent to mention here that just three cases have been recognised under international law since World War Two: In Cambodia in the late 1970s; In Rwanda in 1994; and at Srebrenica, Bosnia, in 1995.