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12 December, 2019 00:00 00 AM

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Suu Kyi rejects genocide claims

AFP, The Hague

Former peace icon Aung San Suu Kyi told the UN's top court yesterday there was no genocidal intent in Myanmar's crackdown on Rohingya Muslims, despite admitting that the army may have used excessive force. The 1991 Nobel peace laureate rejected the misleading and incomplete allegations by The Gambia that Myanmar's 2017 military operation amounted to an attempt to exterminate the Rohingya.

Thousands of people were killed and raped and around 740,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh after the Myanmar military launched a huge offensive that it said was in response to attacks by local militants. Once hailed worldwide as a rights icon for her defiance of Myanmar's junta, Suu Kyi was this time on the side of the generals when she opened the majority-Buddhist nation's defence at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.

Regrettably, The Gambia has placed before the court a misleading and incomplete picture of the situation in Rakhine state, said Suu Kyi, wearing traditional Burmese dress and flowers in her hair. Addressing judges in the wood-panelled courtroom, the 74-year-old said Myanmar was dealing with an internal armed conflict in the southwestern state where the alleged atrocities took place.

Please bear in mind this complex situation and the challenge to sovereignty and security in our country when you are assessing the intent of those who attempted to deal with the rebellion, she said. Surely under the circumstances genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis.

UN investigators last year concluded that Myanmar's treatment of the Rohingya amounted to genocide while rights groups have detailed a catalogue of alleged abuses. The Gambia, a small west African state that is mainly Muslim, filed an application in November accusing Myanmar of breaching the 1948 genocide convention and asking the court to take emergency measures to stop further violence.

A day after sitting through hours of graphic accounts of violence read out by The Gambia's lawyers, Suu Kyi admitted there may have been civilian casualties including some killed when a helicopter opened fire. But she argued these were an inevitable part of the conflict.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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