Gam­bia lawyers slam Suu Kyi for ‘silence’ over ‘geno­cide’

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

The Hague, Nether­lands - The Gam­bia hit out on Thurs­day at Aung San Suu Kyi’s ‘silence’ over the plight of Ro­hingya Mus­lims af­ter the No­bel peace laureate de­fended Myan­mar against geno­cide charges at the UN’s top court.

Lawyers for the African coun­try said her ar­gu­ments that Myan­mar’s 2017 mil­i­tary crack­down was a ‘clear­ance op­er­a­tion’ tar­get­ing mil­i­tants ig­nored wide­spread al­le­ga­tions of mass mur­der, rape and forced de­por­ta­tion.

“Madame agent, your silence said far more than your words,” Gam­bia’s lawyer Philippe Sands told the In­ter­na­tional Court of Jus­tice, re­fer­ring to Suu Kyi, who is of­fi­cially act­ing as Myan­mar’s agent in the case.

“The word ‘rape’ did not once pass the lips of the agent,” added Sands, as Suu Kyi sat im­pas­sively in the court­room, wear­ing tra­di­tional Burmese dress and flow­ers in her hair.

Mostly-Mus­lim Gam­bia has taken ma­jor­ity-Bud­dhist Myan­mar to the court in the Hague, ac­cus­ing it of breach­ing the 1948 UN Geno­cide con­ven­tion and seek­ing emer­gency mea­sures to pro­tect the Ro­hingya.

Once re­garded as an in­ter­na­tional rights icon for stand­ing up to Myan­mar’s bru­tal junta, Suu Kyi’s rep­u­ta­tion has been tar­nished by her de­ci­sion to side with the mil­i­tary over the Ro­hingya cri­sis.

She used a dra­matic ap­pear­ance at the court in The Hague on Wed­nes­day to say there was no ‘geno­ci­dal in­tent’ be­hind the op­er­a­tion that led to some 740,000 Ro­hingya flee­ing into neigh­bour­ing Bangladesh.

Suu Kyi de­fended Myan­mar’s ac­tions say­ing it faced an ‘in­ter­nal con­flict’ and that the mil­i­tary con­ducted ‘clear­ance op­er­a­tions’ af­ter an at­tack by Ro­hingya mil­i­tants in Au­gust 2017.

But Paul Re­ich­ler, an­other of The Gam­bia’s lawyers, said that those killed in­cluded ‘in­fants beaten to death or torn from their moth­ers arms and thrown into rivers to drown. How many of them were ter­ror­ists?’

“Armed con­flict can never be an ex­cuse for geno­cide.”

The lawyer said Suu Kyi had also failed to deny the con­clu­sions of a 2018 UN investigat­ion that found that geno­cide had been com­mit­ted in Myan­mar against the Ro­hingya. “What is most strik­ing is what Myan­mar has not de­nied,” Re­ich­ler said.


State Coun­selor Aung San Suu Kyi in Naypyi­daw on Satur­day

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