• Press Release

Aung San Suu Kyi Appears Before ICJ in Genocide Case

December 10, 2019

A convoi of vehicles allegedly transporting Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi passes a group of protesters in support of the Rohingya in front of the Peace Palace of The Hague on December 10, 2019, following Aung San Suu Kyi's first day of hearing on the Rohingya genocide case. - Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi faced calls for Myanmar to "stop the genocide" of Rohingya Muslims as she personally led her country's defence at the UN's top court on Tuesday. Myanmar's civilian leader sat through graphic accounts of mass murder and rape as the west African state of The Gambia set out its case at the International Court of Justice in The Hague. (Photo by Sem VAN DER WAL / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo by SEM VAN DER WAL/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)
Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto head of state, is leading Myanmar’s delegation to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague, Netherlands, to respond to a case alleging that Myanmar has breached its obligations under the UN Genocide Convention. The case was filed by The Gambia on November 11, 2019. On Wednesday, December 11, 2019, Myanmar will respond to The Gambia’s allegations in court for the first time.

The first public hearings will take place between December 10-12. The Gambia has asked the ICJ to order Myanmar to take ‘provisional measures’ ‘to protect the rights of the Rohingya group’ and prevent all acts that amount to or contribute to the crime of genocide against the community, pending formal hearings on the case.

Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director, said:

“There is a mountain of evidence that the Myanmar military has committed crimes under international law and grave human rights violations against the Rohingya population. Yet the government of Myanmar – including Aung San Suu Kyi – has continued to dismiss, downplay or otherwise deny these accusations.

“So far, the military have evaded justice for their crimes against the Rohingya, while continuing to commit new abuses against other ethnic minorities in the country.

“If Aung San Suu Kyi is serious about serving the people of Myanmar, she should be standing side by side with victims and survivors in the pursuit of justice, truth and reparation. She should not covering up for those suspected of criminal responsibility.”

Following the oral presentations at the ICJ, Amnesty International and a coalition of rights groups will support an event at which members of the Rohingya community will respond to the proceedings.

In the United States, the Department of Treasury imposed target sanctions today against four senior Myanmar officials including Commander-in-Chief Senior General Min Aung Hlaing.

Francisco Bencosme, the Asia Pacific advocacy manager at Amnesty International USA said:

“For years, Amnesty International’s research has documented atrocities committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar and implicated senior military officials such as Min Aung Hlaing for responsibility for these heinous acts, which include murder, mass deportation, rape and sexual violence, and the burning of homes and villages. The international community now has the opportunity to hold the perpetrators responsible and carry out justice for thousands of survivors and their families.”

More information on Amnesty International’s work on Myanmar is available here.