International desk – Myanmar’s de-facto leader Aung San Suu Kyi has refuted allegations of genocide or genocidal intent as she defended her country at the UN’s International Court of Justice where a petition was moved seeking “senseless killings” of Rohingya Muslims.
“How can there be an ongoing genocide or genocidal intent as concrete steps are being taken in Rakhine?,” Suu Kyi posed the question to the 17-member panel of judges at the top UN court in Hague on Wednesday.
She said Rakhine state of Myanmar has been suffering an internal armed conflict between the Buddhist Arakan Army and Myanmar military. “Muslims are not part of this conflict,” she added.
Earlier on Tuesday, the first day of hearing on alleged genocide in Myanmar, the Gambia asked the UN court to pass ruling for stopping genocide in Myanmar, from where nearly 750,000 Rohingya Muslims fled to Bangladesh in the face of a brutal military crackdown in 2017.
During her submission, Suu Kyi referred to the 2016 attacks on Myanmar police post allegedly by Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) and said that the security forces responded to attacks by the insurgents. She said the ARSA, members of which are trained in Pakistan and Afghanistan, launched yet another offensive on the early morning of August 25, 2017. Then the military launched a clearance operation.
The Myanmar leader, however, admitted few thousands Muslim civilians crossed into Bangladesh because of the affect of the conflict. She also said Myanmar and Bangladesh signed agreement for dignified repatriation of the Rohingya Muslims.
Rejecting the allegations of genocide or genocidal intents, Suu Kyi said if anyone of the armed forces is found guilty of crimes, they will be tried in line with the constitution of Myanmar. She also put a few example of soldiers’ trial in court-martial.
The Gambia, one behalf of the Organisaiton of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), filed the litigation with the court in Hague more than two years after the latest wave of violence carried out by the military and their cohorts in August 2017.
This was the first international legal attempt to bring Myanmar to justice over alleged mass killings of the Rohingya minorities. Gambia field the litigation on November 11.
Suu Kyi criticised the Gambia for taking the issue to the International Court of Justice. She said the allegations brought against her country were incomplete.