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Aung San Suu Kyi shows contempt for case against Myanmar army in international court

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PHOTO: LA Times

Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has shown contempt for UN judges investigating the genocide case relating to the Myanmar army’s attacks on the Rohingya in 2017. In her speeches she defended the generals she once defied, for their genocide against the muslim minority living in the Rhakine state, west of the country.

Her supporters gathered outside the court in The Hague chanting as she arrived for the hearing… “We stand with you Aung San Suu Kyi”

She’s asked the International Court of Justice to throw out a genocide case against Myanmar, warning it would reignite the crisis that forced around three quarters of a million Rohingya Muslims from their homes, north over the border into Bangladesh. During her speech Suu Kyi refused to refer to the Rohingya muslims by their ethnic name.

The hearing went for three days, but in her six minute closing argument, Myanmar’s de facto civilian leader issued a stark warning to judges that allowing a case against Myanmar to go ahead could “undermine reconciliation”.

The case could take years to prosecute if accepted by the International Court of Justice.

Wearing traditional Burmese dress and flowers in her hair she hoped that the Court’s “wisdom and vision of justice will help us to create unity out of diversity.”

“Ending the ongoing internal conflict… is of the utmost importance for our country. But it is equally important to avoid any reignition of the 2016-17 internal armed conflict in northern Rakhine.”

The small African, mainly Muslim state of Gambia, is taking majority-Muslim Myanmar to the UN’s top court in The Hague accusing it of breaching the 1948 UN genocide convention. Backed by the 57 nation Organisation of Islamic Conference, Canada and the Netherlands, Gambia is seeking emergency measures to prevent further violence against the Rohingya.

Up to 750,000 Rohingya fled across the Bangladesh border into make-shift refugee camps after the Burmese Army (Tatmadaw) launched a huge crackdown in the Rakhine state in August 2017.

Suu Kyi told the court that there was no proof of “genocidal intent” and said the army operation was in response to attacks on Myanmar military posts by Rohingya militants.

Suu Kyi has said little about the incident, or the global condemnation of the genocide, since the UN and other countries independently and officially condemned the violence after corroborated reports emerged of the systematic attacks on the Rohingya muslims.

Gambia’s lawyer Philippe Sands condemned Suu Kyi’s lack of words.

“Madame agent, your silence said far more than your words. The word ‘rape’ did not once pass the lips of the agent.”

Suu Kyi sat impassively in the courtroom whilst the Gambian lawyer pressed his country’s charges.

He recounted incidents included in the UN report including “infants beaten to death or torn from their mothers’ arms and thrown into rivers to drown.

“Armed conflict can never be an excuse for genocide.”

The lawyer said Suu Kyi had also failed to deny the conclusions of a 2018 UN investigation that found that genocide had been committed in Myanmar against the Rohingya.

A decision on the emergency measures sought by Gambia could take months, while a final ruling if the International Court of Justice decides to take on the full case could take years.

 

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