Wednesday, January 29, 2020 | ePaper

Stop genocide in Myanmar

As Suu Kyi looks on, Gambia asks UN judges

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ICJ President Abdulqawi Yusuf chairs a three-day hearing on Rohingya genocide case in the Peace Palace of The Hague on Tuesday.

News Desk  :
The International Court of Justice (ICJ) on Tuesday began the hearings on Myanmar's responsibility for alleged genocide against the country's Rohingya Muslim minority.
A 15-member panel of judges began the hearing at 2:55 pm (Bangladesh time) at the Peace Palace in The Hague, Netherlands, on the lawsuit filed by the Gambia against Myanmar on November 11 on behalf of the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC), accusing Myanmar of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention.
The case, the first international legal attempt to bring Myanmar to justice over alleged mass killings of the Rohingya minority in 2017.
In an opening statement at the tribunal, Gambia's Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou said, the UN judges must act to stop continuing genocide of the Rohingya minority in Myanmar.
"All that the Gambia asks is that you tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings…. To stop these acts of barbarity and brutality that shocked and continue to shock our collective conscience. Stop this genocide of its own people," he said. Tambadou, who spent years prosecuting cases at the UN tribunal set up for the 1994 Rwanda genocide, also asked the UN court to impose "provisional measures" on Myanmar to prevent the country from committing any ongoing atrocities and to preserve evidence relating to the case.  It could take just weeks for a decision.
"This is very much a dispute between The Gambia and Myanmar," Tambadou said. "We seek to protect not only the rights of the Rohingya, but our own rights as a state party to the Genocide Convention, by holding Myanmar to its ... obligations not to commit genocide, not to incite genocide, and to prevent and punish genocide."
In a rare move, Aung San Suu Kyi, the country's civilian leader who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her struggle against Myanmar's military dictatorship, is personally defending her country from accusations of genocide against the Rohingya Community at the United Nation's top court.
She is leading the Myanmar delegation in her capacity as foreign minister and is due to address the court on Wednesday, expected to repeat denials of genocide and argue that military operations in question were a legitimate response to attacks by Rohingya "militants".
After arriving in a motorcade at the ornate Peace Palace in The Hague, Aung San Suu Kyi ignored questions shouted out to her by waiting reporters. Wearing a traditional dress, she sat expressionless in the courtroom as the Gambian team detailed alleged atrocities in Myanmar.
Over the next two days, Suu Kyi will defend the Myanmar military's campaign of violence that forced more than 740,000 Rohingya to flee into neighboring Bangladesh in 2016 and 2017. The atrocities have been described as genocide by a UN fact-finding commission but Myanmar denies the charges and has long claimed to have been targeting terrorists.

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