On Wednesday, the State Counsellor appeared before the ICJ to deny the accusations of genocide levelled against Myanmar by Gambia over the government’s military crackdown in Rakhine State in August 2017.
Gambia filed the case, on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, on November 11, accusing Myanmar of genocide in its campaign against Rakhine’s Muslim minority and asking the court to urgently order measures “to stop Myanmar’s genocidal conduct immediately.”
The three days of hearings at the ICJ started on Tuesday with Gambia presenting its case.
Lawyers for Gambia urged the ICJ to act quickly to prevent any more crimes against Muslims in northern Rakhine.
On Wednesday, Daw Aung San Suu Kyi accused Gambia of presenting an “incomplete and misleading picture of Myanmar” regarding Rakhine.
Hundreds of thousands of people in Myanmar held rallies across the country to show their support for the State Counsellor, waving the national flag and carrying her portrait with the words “We Stand with Daw Aung San Suu Kyi.”
“The situation in Rakhine is complex and not easy to fathom,” she told the 17-member judges panel at the ICJ on Wednesday.
She said that besides the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA), which is mainly Muslim, the Arakan Army (AA), a predominantly Buddhist ethnic armed group, is also fighting for more autonomy from the central government in the state. She criticised Gambia of making no mention of the AA.
She told the court that the Tatmadaw’s (military’s) “clearance operations” against ARSA in August 2017 have been distorted and wrongfully blamed for causing the exodus of more than 700,000 Rakhine Muslims to Bangladesh.
She denied that the “clearance operations” were aimed at Muslims, and said the troops who were found to have committed human rights abuses have been brought to justice.
Lawyers for Gambia rebutted Myanmar’s argument on Thursday and renewed its call for the court to issue “provisional measures” to prevent further crimes against Rakhine Muslims.
Paul Reichler, the lawyer representing Gambia, said Myanmar did not deny the UN Fact-Finding Mission’s conclusion of “inference of genocidal intent” against Rakhine Muslims.
US sanctions four Tatmadaw leaders
As the hearings continued at the International Court of Justice, the United States Treasury Department on Tuesday imposed new sanctions on Myanmar’s senior military leaders over alleged human rights abuses.
The new sanctions blacklist Tatmadaw Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander-in-Chief Soe Win, Major General Than Oo and Major General Aung Aung, according to a department statement.
The four were among 17 people from foreign countries who received sanctions in observance of International Human Rights Day on Tuesday.
US authorities accused Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing of overseeing “an entity that has engaged in or whose members have engaged in serious human rights abuse under his command.”
The new sanctions, based on the Magnitsky Act enacted in 2012, freeze any US assets of the four generals and criminalise financial transactions with them by anyone in the US. Last July, the US banned Snr Gen Min Aung Hlaing from entering the country.
The US Treasury said in a statement that the sanctions were in line with US efforts to support Myanmar’s democratic transition, “civilian-led economic reform, and civilian control of the military.”
Myanmar wins 73 medals at SEA Games
Myanmar athletes brought home 73 medals from the 2019 Southeast Asian Games (SEA Games) which were held in the Philippines from November 30 to December 11.
The total included four gold medals, 18 silver medals, and 51 bronze medals. Out of the 11 members of Southeast Asian Games Federation, Myanmar ranked 7th in the medal table. The host, Philippines, dominated this year’s Games ranking first with a total of 387 medals.
Myanmar won a gold medal in arnis (the national martial arts of the Philippines), two in billiards and snooker, and one in traditional boat racing.
A total of 952 Myanmar athletes competed this year, compared to 405 at the last Games. Myanmar also ranked in 7th place in the medal table at the last Games with 37 medals.
The organisers of the 2019 Games were criticised by the Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Timor-Leste national football teams due to delays and inconveniences in transportation and accommodation.
FROM : MYANMAR TIMES