EYEAFRICA TV: Hague, The Netherlands: American lawyer Paul Reichler told the International Court of Justice on Wednesday, that they do not contend that there was no insurgents in Myanmar’s alleged genocide against the Muslim Rohingya people during the cleanse operations.
Delivering his points of argument before the international tribunal in The Hague on Wednesday, in a genocidal case brought against the government of Myanmar by The Gambia, Reichler said Myanmar had justified that it’s cleanse operations were not intended at destroying Rohingya. “They said what they intended was to clear an area of the insurgents by deliberately killing Rohingya children, beaten to death or torn from their mother’s arms.”
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.”
Lawyer Reichler who made his presentation on behalf of The Gambia said six of Myanmar’s most senior army officers have been accused of genocide by a UN fact-finding mission and recommended for criminal prosecution.
Wednesday is the third and final day of the tribunal’s emergency hearing into accusations of genocide Myanmar has committed against its Rohingya Muslim minority population.
On Tuesday, Myanmar’s de facto leader, Aung San Suu Kyi said Gambia’s case 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 are incomplete and misleading picture of the situation in Rakhine state.
She said the situation in Rakhine is complex and not easy to fathom but one thing that surely touches everyone is the suffering of many people whose lives have been torn apart as a result of the armed conflict in 2017.
But Reichler provided pictures of brutalities committed by the Myanmar military on the Rohingya people which he said were conducted by raping, gang raping and savagely mutilating women and girls, burning their homes to the ground in which hundreds of villages and thousands of homes with entire families were forced to stay inside.
“Myanmar had denied that they acted with genocidal intent in the treatment of Rohingya and they also argued that even if genocidal intent can be inferred from their conduct, it is not the only possible inference that can be drawn,” Reichler said.
But he said what is more striking is what Myanmar has not denied, saying Myanmar has not denied that the UN fact finding mission reached this conclusion and there is no reasonable conclusion to draw, other than the inference of genocidal intent, from the state’s pattern of conduct.
He said Myanmar did not deny that the fact finding mission reached this conclusion based on seven specific indicators which it found to be indicators of genocidal intent to the international case, no has Myanmar challenged the fact finding mission use of these seven indicators or any one of them for inferring genocidal intent.
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.
Reichler said the first indicator of Myanmar’s genocidal intent is that the Tatmadaw’s extreme brutality during its attacks on the Rohingya and the organised nature of the Tatmadaw’s destruction, saying Myanmar did not deny this, nor did they deny that 392 Rohingya villages were systematically destroyed either totally or partially during the operations. “We heard nothing about sexual violence from Myanmar, not even a single word about it; not from the agent, not from any of their counsels.”