Myanmar's Suu Kyi told to 'stop the genocide' in United Nations court over Rohingya crisis

Edited By: Bharat Sharma WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Published: Dec 10, 2019, 05.06 PM(IST)

Suu Kyi at the UN hearing Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

Today, she sat through graphic accounts of murder and rape in the wood-panelled courtroom in The Hague

Aung San Suu Kyi, the Nobel laureate from Myanmar was directed to ''stop the genocide'' of Rohingya Muslims at United Nations' top court today.

Kyi, who was for long hailed as a rights icon has suffered setbacks due to her approach in dealing with the Rohingya crisis.

West African state of Gambia has accused Myanmar of breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention.

"This is very much a dispute between Gambia and Myanmar," Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told the judges of the court, which was set up in 1946 to resolve disputes between UN member states.

Suu Kyi is representing Myanmar at the International Court of Justice.

Around 740,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after a bloody crackdown by the Myanmar military in 2017 that UN investigators have already described as genocide.

"All that The Gambia asks is that you tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings, to stop these acts of barbarity that continue to shock our collective conscience, to stop this genocide of its own people", Tambadou added.

Tambadou, a former prosecutor at the tribunal into Rwanda's 1994 genocide, said Myanmar's military operation involved "mass murder, mass rape and mass torture, children being burned alive in their homes and places of worship."

The Gambia is seeking emergency measures to prevent further harm to the Rohingya, pending a wider case at the ICJ which could take years.

Suu Kyi listened to accounts by The Gambia's lawyers of Rohingya victims, including a mother whose one-year-old son was beaten to death and an eight-month-pregnant woman who was stamped on and then repeatedly raped.

A group of some 50 pro-Rohingya protesters gathered outside the gates of the ICJ for the hearing, carrying banners saying: 'Say yes to Rohingya, justice delayed is justice denied" and "Stop Burma military attack Rohingya."

Thousands of people have also turned out in Suu Kyi's support in Myanmar in recent weeks since she announced that she would personally lead the southeast Asian nation's case at the court.

Suu Kyi is set to speak in Myanmar's defence on Wednesday. She is expected to argue that Myanmar was conducting legitimate operations against Rohingya militants and that the ICJ has no jurisdiction in the case.

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