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Myanmar Junta Seeks to Have 2016 Rohingya Genocide Tragedy Tossed from The Hague

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Myanmar junta rulers on Monday asked the United Nations’ top court to dismiss a case accusing the Southeast Asian nation of genocide against the Rohingya ethnic minority.

The public hearings at the International Court of Justice were held, despite questions about who could represent the country after last year’s military coup.

The decision to allow the military junta government to participate in the hearings was sharply criticized. However, it makes somewhat sense considering it was Myanmar’s military that is accused of genocide.

It was argued that a shadow government, called the National Unity Government, consisting of representatives and lawmakers who were prevented from taking their seats by the military takeover, should be representing Myanmar in court.

However, it was a military junta administration led by Ko Ko Hlaing, the cabinet minister for international cooperation. At earlier hearings in the case in 2019, pro-democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi led the country’s legal team. She now sits in prison after being convicted on trumped-up charges by the military junta.

As the hearing began, the court’s president, U.S. Justice Joan Donoghue, noted: “that states are the parties in a case before the court, not governments.”

The rights groups questioned the court’s decision to allow the military junta to represent Myanmar, previously known as Burma.

Myanmar junta recognition

Burma Human Rights Network’s Executive Director, Kyaw Win, expressed concern over the military’s appearance as representatives of Burma before the court. Currently, the coup regime is in the middle of a horrific campaign of violence against civilians.

The last thing the military junta deserves is to be recognized by a United Nations organization.”

Myanmar’s lawyers argued that the case should be dismissed because the court only deals with cases between states. The Rohingya complaint was brought by Gambia on behalf of the Organization of Islamic States.

Additionally, they argued that Gambia was not entitled to bring the case to court as it was not directly related to what happened in Myanmar. In addition, they argued that there was no legal dispute between the two countries before the case was filed.

Gambia’s lawyers will respond on Wednesday. A preliminary objections ruling will probably take months.

Representatives of Myanmar’s National Unity Government urged the court not to accept representatives of the military rulers before Monday’s hearing.

“It would be a profound injustice to the Rohingya if the military were both their abusers and had a voice in court,” said Zin Mar Aung, the foreign minister of the unity government.

According to the organization, it has contacted the court to request Myanmar withdraw its preliminary objections. Although the national unity government claims it is the only legitimate government in the country, no foreign government has recognized it.

There has been an international struggle over who to accept as Myanmar’s legitimate rulers following the coup, as reflected by the dispute at the Hague.

Source: AP

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