(Reuters) – Members of Myanmar’s Rohingya Muslim minority prayed for justice on the eve of hearings at the U.N.’s International Court of Justice during which leader Aung San Suu Kyi will defend the country against genocide charges.
Gambia launched proceedings against the Buddhist-majority Myanmar in November, accusing it of violating its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention. It is only the third genocide case filed at the court since World War Two.
During three days of court proceedings Suu Kyi, a Nobel Peace laureate, is expected to repeat denials of genocide and argue that military operations in question were a legitimate counterterrorism response to attacks by Rohingya militants.
This week’s proceedings before a panel of 17 judges 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.
Gambia will argue that Myanmar’s forces carried out widespread and systematic atrocities under a campaign known as “operation clearance”, from August 2017 that constituted genocide.