Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi is set to speak out in Myanmar’s defence at the UN’s top court on Wednesday (Dec 11) , a day after the former democracy icon was urged to “stop the genocide” against Rohingya Muslims.
Suu Kyi is expected to tell ICJ judges that Myanmar was conducting legitimate operations against Rohingya militants, that it has carried out its own investigations into the bloodshed and that the court has no jurisdiction in the case. Huge crowds are expected to turn out in Yangon to watch Suu Kyi speak via livestream amid a groundswell of support in Myanmar, where the woman dubbed “The Lady” is still widely loved.
Gambia, a tiny, mainly Muslim West African country, filed a lawsuit in November accusing Buddhist-majority Myanmar of genocide, the most serious international crime, against its Rohingya Muslim minority. During three days of hearings, it will ask the 16-member panel of U.N judges at the International Criminal Court of Justice to impose “provisional measures” to protect the Rohingya before the case can be heard in full.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar in 2017 after a brutal military-led crackdown the U.N has said was executed with “genocidal intent” and included mass killings and rape. Despite international condemnation over the campaign, Suu Kyi, whose government has defended the campaign as a legitimate response to attacks by Rohingya militants, remains overwhelmingly popular at home.