News ID: 100261
Publish Date : 21 February 2022 - 22:13

ICC Opens Hearings on Myanmar Massacre of Rohingya

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Myanmar’s shadow civilian administration called on the United Nations’ top court Monday not to allow the country’s military rulers to represent the Southeast Asian nation at hearings into a case accusing the country of genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority.
Four days of hearings into the Myanmar military’s deadly 2017 crackdown on the Rohingya were scheduled to open Monday afternoon at the International Court of Justice amid a dispute over who should represent the country in court.
Representatives of Myanmar were scheduled to address judges to outline why they believed the case that was filed by the African nation of Gambia, representing a group of Muslim nations, should be dropped.
But members of Myanmar’s National Unity Government urged the court not to accept representatives of the military rulers.
“We do not believe that the International Court of Justice will want to allow the military to appear before them as if they speak for the Republic of the Union of Myanmar,” said the unity government’s foreign minister, Zin Mar Aung. “It would be a most profound injustice to the Rohingya if the military were to be both their abusers and have any voice in the court.”
The shadow administration said it has contacted the court to withdraw Myanmar’s preliminary objections to the case, but it remains to be seen whether the court will recognize the unity administration.
The shadow administration is made up of a diverse group of representatives including elected lawmakers who were prevented from taking their seats by the military takeover. It says it is the country’s only legitimate government but no foreign government has recognized the unity group.
Southeast Asian foreign ministers held their annual retreat last week without their counterpart from Myanmar, who was blackballed from participating but allowed to attend online as an observer.
The military launched what it called a clearance campaign in Rakhine state in 2017 after an attack by a Rohingya insurgent group. More than 700,000 Rohingya fled into neighboring Bangladesh and security forces were accused of mass rapes, killings and torching thousands of homes.
In 2019, lawyers representing Gambia at the ICJ outlined their allegations of genocide by showing judges maps, satellite images and graphic photos of the military campaign.
That led the court to order Myanmar to do all it can to prevent genocide against the Rohingya. The interim ruling was intended to protect the minority while the case is decided in The Hague, a process likely to take years.