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Suu Kyi lies at ICJ

Say ex-diplomats as Myanmar leader denies Rohingya genocide
Diplomatic Correspondent, Dhaka
Suu Kyi lies at ICJ
Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi (C) observes proceedings at the UN's International Court of Justice next to Abubacarr Tambadou (2L), minister of justice of the Gambia, in the Peace Palace of The Hague yesterday, the second day of hearing in the Rohingya genocide case. AFP photo

Former diplomats and experts termed the speech of Nobel Peace Prize laureate and Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) yesterday as a “clear lie”. In her speech, Suu Kyi defended the Myanmar Army for atrocities against Rohingyas. Her speech was harshly criticised, with critics saying “it is her moral degradation” for taking such a stance despite having once fought for human rights.

“She is clearly telling lies. She was once the icon of democracy but has since been reduced to a puppet,” Abul Hasan Chowdhury, former state minister for foreign affairs, told The Independent yesterday. “Her speech is shocking. The Nobel academy should think of taking back her Nobel Peace Prize,” he said. Chowdhury also thanked The Gambia for filing the lawsuit against Myanmar for the alleged genocide in Rakhine State.

In her opening statement, Suu Kyi told the court that The Gambia had “placed an incomplete and misleading picture of the factual situation in Rakhine State”. She added that “genocidal intent cannot be the only hypothesis” in case of Myanmar. Prof. Shahab Enam Khan from the international relations department at Jahangirnagar University said: “Along with well-founded evidence, the case heavily relies on the United Nations (UN) report that found the ‘genocidal intent’ of Tatmadaw. The report specifies the names of the accused leaders. Surely, Suu Kyi has lost her moral authority by not putting a stop to Tatmadaw’s atrocities in Rakhine.”

“All evidence of Myanmar’s cyclical denial of xenophobia and genocide will come to light through the trial,” he added. Suu Kyi, who had been placed under house arrest for 15 long years as she battled for democracy in Myanmar and against military dictatorship, defended the atrocities of the same army that had committed ethnic killings, rape, and violence. “Can there be genocidal intent on the part of a state that actively investigates, prosecutes, and punishes soldiers and officers who are accused of wrongdoing? Although the focus here is on members of the military, I can assure you that appropriate action will be taken on civilian offenders in line with due process,” said the Myanmar leader. She also said the sufferings of many innocent people whose lives were torn apart were the consequences of the armed conflicts of 2016 and 2017.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen yesterday said Suu Kyi’s stance of defending the atrocities of the Myanmar Army was a “deviation from her being an iconic figure of democracy and human rights”.

“It is unfortunate that she is defending the atrocities in court. I myself staged demonstrations on the streets several times demanding her release in the past. She was an icon of democracy and human rights. But now, her moral degradation shows in her defence at the court,” he added.

Quoting the seven Nobel laureates who requested her to speak the truth, Momen said: “We hope she gets back her conscience.”

The minister expressed pride in The Gambia for filing the lawsuit and placing before the court an accurate picture of what happened in Rakhine in 2017.

“We demand that Rohingyas be allowed to return to their country and lead peaceful lives. We want such persecutions to never be repeated. So, Myanmar must be held accountable,” he added.

Following a meeting with the United States (US) ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller, Momen said: “The US ambassador informed me that the US is imposing sanctions on four army generals of Myanmar as well as on their family members and properties.”

The Gambia, in its opening statement at the court on Tuesday, called upon the ICJ to end the genocide in Myanmar of the Muslim Rohingyas. “All that The Gambia asks is that you tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings,” The Gambia’s justice minister, Abubacarr Tambadou, told the court.

“Tell Myanmar to stop this genocide of its own people. Give Rohingyas a chance at a dignified life,” he told the ICJ.

The ICJ is holding three-day-long public hearing on the lawsuit following the case filed by The Gambia, a tiny African Muslim country which is a member of the 57-nation Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

The Gambia has sought “provisional measures” from the court to ensure the protection of Rohingya Muslims who are now living in Myanmar.

Amid the ongoing public hearing, the US state department and treasury announced the imposition of financial sanctions under the Global Magnitsky programme on four current and former military leaders of Myanmar for their role in serious human rights abuses.

Since 2017, the US has placed sanctions on nine members of Myanmar’s Burmese security force, plus two units, for serious human rights abuses.

 

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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.
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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.

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