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Iran Press TV

UN court hearings resume in Rohingya genocide case

Iran Press TV

Monday, 21 February 2022 4:05 PM

The United Nations' highest court is set to hear Myanmar's preliminary objections to a genocide case brought against it over a brutal 2017 crackdown by the military on the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Four days of public hearings at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) was to begin on Monday into the case that was brought by the Gambia on behalf of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIC) that accuses Myanmar of genocide in the crackdown.

The Gambia argues that the campaign amounted to a breach of the genocide convention and wants the court to hold Myanmar responsible.

A UN investigation has already found the crackdown had been carried out with "genocidal intent" and recommended that Commander-in-Chief Min Aung Hlaing and five generals be prosecuted.

In 2017, a bloody campaign in Myanmar's Rakhine state sent some 740,000 Rohingya fleeing across the border into neighboring Bangladesh, carrying accounts of rape, mass killings and arson.

The UN believes the government of Myanmar might have committed ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity in its crackdown.

The military has long claimed the crackdown was justified to root out insurgents. The ousted civilian leader Aung San Suu Kyi back then also defended the army's conduct by travelling to The Hague to rebut charges of genocide at the UN's top court.

In December 2019, Suu Kyi traveled to The Hague to lead Myanmar's defense, but she was removed from office in a coup in February last year by Myanmar's military, which has said their representatives would argue the preliminary objections in the court.

Critics of the military rulers say the National Unity Government (NUG), a shadow civilian administration, should be representing the country at hearings in The Hague. Last week, the NUG, which includes elected legislators who were removed by the military, announced it was withdrawing the objections and wanted the court to proceed to the merits of the case.

The mostly Muslim Rohingya have for decades been denied citizenship, rights, access to services and freedom of movement.

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