UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — Burma’s civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi has led her country’s delegation to the International Court of Justice to defend Burma in a case of genocide against the Rohingya Muslims, the government announced Wednesday.
The Gambia is due to open the case before the International Court of Justice in December on behalf of the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
The lawsuit accuses the predominantly Buddhist Burma of violating the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide by military suppression of the Rohingya Muslim minority in Rakhine State.
The court is scheduled to hold its first hearings in December at the request of the Gambia to take urgent precautionary measures “to protect the Rohingya from further harm”.
Aung San Suu Kyi will lead the delegation herself to The Hague to “defend Burma’s national interest,” her office said, adding that Burma would have access to prominent international lawyers.
Burma’s 2017 crackdown prompted some 740,000 members of this minority to cross into Bangladesh to escape the violence that UN investigators say amounts to “genocide.”
About one million Rohingya live in more than 30 camps in the Cox’s Bazar area on the southeastern border of Bangladesh.
Burma does not recognize the Rohingya as an official minority and considers them Bangladeshis, although many of their families have lived in Burma for generations.
Burma says its campaign against the Rohingya is essential to root out the militants, saying its committees are sufficient to investigate allegations of abuse.
It will be the first legal attempt to prosecute Burma in the Rohingya crisis, a rare example of one country being prosecuted in a case to which it is not a party.
The Court was established in 1946 after World War II to adjudicate disputes between UN member states.
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