EYEAFRICA TV: Hague, Netherlands: Leader of Myanmar’s National League for Democracy and the first and incumbent State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi Wednesday presented her country’s position in a genocide case filed against her country by The Gambia, before the International Criminal Justice (ICJ) in Hague, Netherlands.
The tiny West African state alleges that Myanmar military’s atrocities in Rakhine State against Rohingya Muslims violate the Convention on the prevention and punishment of the crime of genocide.
Mrs Kyi said the world court is a vital refigure for international justice, saying they look to the court to establish conditions conducive to respect for obligations arising from treaties and the sources of international law, which are some of the fundamental objectives of the United Nations chartered.
“In the present case, the court has applied the 1948 genocide Convention; one of the fundamental multilateral treaties of our time. Invoking the convention is a matter of atmosphere gravity. This is a treaty that we made following systematic killings of more than six million Europeans and my country has wholeheartedly signed the convention as early as 30 December 1949 and ratified it on 14 March 1956,” Mrs Kyi said.
On November 11, Gambia, with the backing of the 57 members of the Organisation for Islamic Cooperation, filed a case with the court alleging that the Myanmar military’s atrocities in Rakhine State against Rohingya Muslims violate the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. On November 20, Myanmar recognized being bound by the ICJ Statute and announced that its de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi, would lead the delegation to “defend the national interest of Myanmar.”
The Gambia is represented at the hearing of the Hague-based ICJ by its Attorney General and Justice Minister Abubacarr M Tambedou and his legal team.
The Nobel Peace Prize laureate said genocide is a crime that the international criminal tribunal for Rwanda applied in response to the mass killing of perhaps 70 percent of Tutsis.
“It is a crime that is not applied by the tribunal on the former Yugoslavia for the displacement of approximately one million residents of Kosovo in 1999. In both situations, international justice resisted the temptation to use this strongest of legal classifications because the specific intent to physically destroy the targeted group in whole or in part was not present.”
More than 730,000 Rohingya, most of them Muslims, fled to neighboring Bangladesh following a 2017 crackdown by Myanmar’s military, which UN investigators said was carried out with “genocidal intent.”
Myanmar has repeatedly justified the crackdown on the Rohingya as necessary to stamp out “terrorism”. It also insists its own committees are adequate to investigate allegations of abuse.
She said the situation in Rakhine state is complex and not easy to fathom, but one thing is certain and that touches everyone is the the suffering of the many innocent people whose lives were turned apart as a consequence of the army conflict of 2016 and 2017, and in particular, does who flee their homes and are now living in camps.
Story written by Amie Joof