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Gambia asks U.N. court to 'stop genocide' in Myanmar

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 10, 2019 - Duration: 02:43s

Gambia asks U.N. court to 'stop genocide' in Myanmar

Aung San Suu Kyi was at the UN's court in the Hague on Tuesday to hear Gambia outline its genocide case against Myanmar.

David Doyle reports.

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Gambia asks U.N. court to 'stop genocide' in Myanmar

In a Bangladeshi camp, these Rohingya refugees are praying for justice - as, 5,000 miles away, Gambia launched its case of genocide against Myanmar.

(SOUNDBITE) (Rohingya) ROHINGYA REFUGEE, FATEMA BEGUS, SAYING: "They tortured our mothers and daughters, they burned our houses, they also raped me and now Myanmar is facing a trial for that.

I am grateful to God that the trial is going on.

I pray to Allah that, as they killed our people, burned our children, butchered them and tortured us, we hope to get a fair judgment." Such hopes center on the U.N.'s International Court of Justice at The Hague.

There on Tuesday (December 10), Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi listened impassively as Gambia's Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou detailed allegations of atrocities.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GAMBIAN JUSTICE MINISTER, ABUBACARR TAMBADOU, SAYING: "Every day of inaction means that more people are being killed, more women are being ravaged and more children are being burnt alive.

For what crime?

Only because they were born different, born of a different race and to a different religion from those who kill and rape them." Gambia launched legal proceedings against Myanmar in November, accusing the majority-Buddhist country of violating its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.

This week's proceedings will not deal with the core allegation of genocide, but Gambia has requested a court order for Myanmar to halt any activity that may aggravate the dispute.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GAMBIA'S JUSTICE MINISTER, ABUBACARR TAMBADOU, SAYING: "So all that The Gambia asks is that you tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings." More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar after a military operation was launched in August 2017; U.N.

Investigators have concluded the crackdown was executed with "genocidal intent".

Myanmar has previously denied almost all allegations made by refugees against its troops and Suu Kyi is expected to repeat denials of genocide when she testifies on Wednesday (December 11), arguing that military operations were a legitimate counterterrorism response to attacks by Rohingya militants on security forces.

And though she may be facing a hostile reception at The Hague, back home in Yangon thousands rallied to support her.

(SOUNDBITE) (Burmese) RALLY PARTICIPANT FROM SHAN STATE, KO MAUNG MAUNG LAY, SAYING: "Why we're supporting her is because, here, in our country, we don't have those kinds of genocide cases.

That was actually civil war.

The U.N.

Tribunal has no enforcement powers, but its rulings are final and have significant legal weight.

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