Myanmar’s junta is set to replace Aung San Suu Kyi at the UN’s highest court on Monday as it seeks to dismiss a case over the alleged genocide of Rohingya Muslims.
Suu Kyi personally presented Myanmar’s arguments to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) when the case was first heard in December 2019, but was ousted as civilian leader in a military coup last year.
The Nobel Peace Prize winner, who has been criticized by human rights groups for her involvement in the case, is now under house arrest and on trial before the same generals she defended in The Hague.
In its “tentative objections” on Monday, Myanmar will argue that the court has no jurisdiction over the case, and must dispose of it before proceeding to substantive hearings.
Local media in Myanmar said the junta has a new delegation led by International Cooperation Minister Ko Ko Hlaing and Attorney General Thida Oo, who will attend virtually.
Both have been hit by US sanctions over the coup.
The case brought by the predominantly Muslim African country of Gambia accuses predominantly Buddhist Myanmar of genocide against the Rohingya minority over a bloody military crackdown in 2017.
The ICJ issued a preliminary injunction in January 2020 that Myanmar must take “all measures” to prevent the alleged genocide against the Rohingya while the years-long proceedings are ongoing.
The Gambia will come up with counterarguments on Wednesday.
About 850,000 Rohingya are languishing in camps in neighboring Bangladesh, while another 600,000 Rohingya reside in Myanmar’s southwestern Rakhine state.
The ICJ was established after World War II to decide disputes between UN member states. Her rulings are binding, but she has no real means of enforcing them.
Complicated by the coup that deposed Suu Kyi and her civilian government, the Rohingya case at the ICJ has sparked mass protests and a bloody military crackdown. More than 1,500 civilians have been killed, according to a local monitoring group.
Suu Kyi is now facing trial herself in Myanmar on a series of charges that could carry her to more than 150 years in prison.
Ahead of the hearing, the shadow “government of national unity,” dominated by lawmakers from Suu Kyi’s deposed party, said it, not the junta, is “the proper representative of Myanmar to the ICJ in the matter”.
It also rejects Myanmar’s preliminary objections, saying that the hearings should be canceled and the court should quickly begin hearing the case on the merits.
The NGG has no territory and has not been recognized by any foreign government and has been declared a “terrorist” organization by the junta.
The Gambia accuses Myanmar of violating the 1948 UN Genocide Convention.
The case is supported by the 57-nation Organization for Islamic Cooperation, Canada and the Netherlands.
(This story was not edited by DailyExpertNews staff and was generated automatically from a syndicated feed.)