Myanmar's state counsellor, the Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, appeared at the International Court of Justice in The Hague on Tuesday to defend her government against accusations of genocide.
Myanmar's military is accused of conducting a campaign of mass killings, rape and torture against the country's Rohingya Muslim community in 2017, forcing more than 700,000 to flee to neighboring Bangladesh.
Aung San Suu Kyi was held under house arrest for 15 years until 2010, but she is now defending the military that once imprisoned her. Almost 28 years to the day since she won the Nobel Peace Prize, the state counsellor listened as lawyers for Gambia, which brought the case against Myanmar, began to detail the alleged acts of genocide.
"One witness recounted, 'The soldiers killed the male members of my family. They shot them first and then slit their throats. The courtyard was full of blood,'" lawyer Andrew Loewenstein told the court. "'They killed my husband, my father-in-law and my two nephews of 15 and 8 years old. They even killed the child in the same way.'"
Gambian Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou told reporters Tuesday he wants the International Court of Justice to order special measures to protect the Rohingyas until the genocide case is heard in full.
"We are signatories to the Genocide Convention like any other state. It shows that you don't have to have military power or economic power to stand for justice," Tambadou said.
There were protests in Myanmar against the court hearing. In refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh, Rohingya Muslims held prayers as the case got under way.
Source : VOA