In the next three days, the International Court of Justice in the Peace Palace in The Hague will be prosecuted against Myanmar, which has been brought by Gambia for violence against Rohingyas. The Myanmarese government leader Aung San Suu Kyi will defend her country. Five questions about what the case is all about.
1. What is Myanmar accused of?
The Asian country is accused of committing genocide to the Rohingya minority, an ethnic separate group. The Rohingyas have suffered enormously for decades from the repression of the Myanmar government and the army.
In 2017, the country fought hard against the Rohingyas after rebels attacked an army base and several police stations with knives and sticks. They wanted to express their dissatisfaction with the disadvantaged position of the minority group in Myanmar.
In response, the army used a lot of violence and soldiers set fire to entire villages. Women and girls were also raped. 15,000 to 25,000 people died and more than 700,000 Rohingyas were driven to neighboring Bangladesh.
2. What is the position of the Rohingyas in Myanmar?
Hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas are currently in miserable conditions in refugee camps in Bangladesh.
However, the hatred of the Muslim group existed in Myanmar for much longer. "Many people in Myanmar believe that the Rohingyas do not belong in Myanmar and that they have no right to exist there," says diplomat expert and former UN ambassador Laetitia van den Assum.
"The government and the army have been telling the people for years that the Rohingyas are invaders threatening Buddhism. The fear of Islam as a huge fast-rising religion has been enormously blown up there, but the people, who live in a very isolated way, have only propagated this propaganda. her decision, "she says.
A child in a refugee camp for Rohingyas in Bangladesh. (Photo: Pro Shots)
3. Why did the Gambia institute legal proceedings?
The proceedings were brought before the United Nations body by The Gambia together with the Organization for Islamic Cooperation (OIS), of which 57 countries are members in total. The indictment is based on the 1948 UN Genocide Convention, signed by both Gambia and Myanmar.
According to Van den Assum, the OIS decided to drag Myanmar before the International Court of Justice, because the case had not been shot from the UN Security Council for years. "The Security Council did not take any action because both Russia and China were opposed." This was the reason for the OIS to take the matter up.
4. What is the role of Suu Kyi?
It is somewhat striking that the Myanmarese head of government is traveling to The Hague to conduct the defense on behalf of her country. The winner of the Nobel Prize in 1991 is controversial because of her role with regard to the Rohingyas, even though she has no control over the armed forces.
"Many people wondered why she came personally, but I think it's good that she does it and tells her story," says Van den Assum. "However, the problem is that she has done nothing to prevent these huge crimes from occurring. She has even trivialized and denied it."
A large part of the Myanmar population stands behind Suu Kyi. Upon her departure, people waved banners to wish the politician good luck on her trip to The Hague.
The Myanmar people make it clear that they support their government leader Aung San Suu Kyi. (Photo: Reuters)
5. What will happen in the coming days?
The lawsuit against Myanmar is divided into two rounds, spread out over three session days: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. On those days, Myanmar and Gambia are both interrogated by fifteen international judges. The ruling of the Court may take months to come.
Although the decision of the UN supreme court is not binding, Van den Assum is pleased that the case is taking place, so that it will become clear whether Myanmar has been guilty of genocide and whether there is reason to take action against the country.
According to Van den Assum, more needs to be done to change the situation of the Rohingyas; both politically and in the field of humanitarian aid.
See also: Rohingyas displaced for two years since violence Myanmar