THE HAGUE – Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi on Wednesday defended her country’s treatment of its Rohingya Muslim minority during testimony at the International Court of Justice, countering claims that they have been subjected to genocide.
Suu Kyi said claims made the previous day at the ICJ by Gambia, which submitted the lawsuit against Buddhist-majority Myanmar on Nov. 11 with support from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, were “incomplete” and “misleading.”
She took issue with the claim there was any “genocidal intent” and criticized what she called the “rush to externalize accountability,” insisting the issues are being handled domestically in an adequate manner.
On Tuesday, the predominantly Muslim African country’s Justice Minister Abubacarr Marie Tambadou urged the top United Nations court to compel Myanmar, as a state party to the 1948 Genocide Convention, to fulfill its obligations “not to commit genocide, not to incite genocide, and to prevent and punish genocide.”
He accused Myanmar of failing to do so and “of carrying out genocide against the Rohingya.”
Gambia argues that Myanmar has violated the Genocide Convention, formally known as the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, through “acts adopted, taken and condoned” by the Myanmar government against the Rohingya in Rakhine State.
Specifically, Gambia says the Myanmar military and security forces have committed “genocidal acts” that were “intended to destroy the Rohingya as a group…by the use of mass murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, as well as systematic destruction by fire of their villages, often with inhabitants locked inside burning houses.”
It is requesting that court to indicate “provisional measures” be taken by Myanmar to prevent “extrajudicial killings or physical abuse; rape or other forms of sexual violence; burning of homes or villages; destruction of lands and livestock, deprivation of food and other necessities of life, or any other deliberate infliction of conditions of life calculated to bring about the physical destruction of the Rohingya group in whole or in part.”
More than 740,000 members of the minority group have fled from Rakhine to neighboring Bangladesh since August 2017 to escape a military crackdown on insurgents.