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Hind Al Soulia - Riyadh - Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi arrived at the UN's top court on Tuesday to personally defend Myanmar's military against accusations of genocide.
The civilian leader arrived at the International Court of Justice in The Hague in a motorcade. She ignored questions shouted out to her by waiting reporters, then sat expressionless in the courtroom as alleged atrocities against the Rohingya Muslim minority were detailed.
The case is being brought by the West African state of The Gambia as the first attempt to bring Myanmar to justice over its bloody 2017 military crackdown on the Rohingya.
Ms Suu Kyi, once venerated as a human rights icon for her non-violent struggle for democracy, has been tarnished by her silence over the plight of the Rohingya and her defence of the same generals who once kept her under house arrest.
I demand justice from the world
Nur Karima — Rohingya refugee
The case will be watched in Bangladesh, where about 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee into sprawling camps by the bloody campaign in Myanmar's northwestern Rakhine state.
"I demand justice from the world," Nur Karima, a Rohingya refugee whose brothers and grandparents were killed in a massacre in the village of Tula Toli in August 2017, told AFP.
UN investigators last year branded the Rohingya crackdown a genocide. The three-day hearing at The Hague promises to be a historic one for the ICJ, which was set up in 1946 to adjudicate disputes between UN member states.
Muslim-majority The Gambia, acting on behalf of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, is due to speak on Tuesday.
It alleges that Myanmar breached the 1948 Genocide Convention, and will ask for emergency measures to stop Myanmar's "ongoing genocidal actions".
"The genocidal acts committed during these operations were intended to destroy the Rohingya as a group, in whole or in part, by the use of mass murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence," The Gambia said in its submission to the court.
Ms Suu Kyi's office has said she will "defend the national interests of Myanmar" as she becomes one of the first national leaders to lead their country's defence at the court.
Updated: December 10, 2019 03:09 PM
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