Aung San Suu Kyi’s defiance in rejecting allegations of Genocide at International Court of Justice, wins public support
Posted on December 10th, 2019

By Senaka Weeraratna

Thousands of supporters in Myanmar have waved banners and colorful portraits of State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, on Saturday, December 7, in a show of their loyalty on the eve of her departure for the U.N.’s top court i.e. International Court of Justice (ICJ), to face genocide charges over the Rohingya crisis.

One supporter named Damien Chakma in a comment on the Internet has said:

What Suu Kyi is doing is absolute right, protecting Myanmar’s interest in the face of OIC funded propaganda. So called Rohingyas are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh. Where was ICJ and UN when Bangladesh was ethnic cleansing Buddhist tribes (Chakma, Marma, Tripura etc.) from Chittagong Hill Tracts?”

China, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and several other countries such as Ukraine and Israel, have unreservedly given their unqualified support to Myanmar at the UN. India, is sympathetic towards Myanmar and on December 09, passed legislation amending India’s Citizenship laws excluding Rohingyas from seeking asylum in India or claiming Indian Citizenship on the basis of Muslim refugees. 

The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi made a two-day visit to Myanmar at the invitation of State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi on December 07.

 U Maung Maung Soe, a political analyst, has said that When it comes to the Rohingya issue, China has always shown their strong support for Myanmar,”

Myanmar is highly likely to discuss with China how the country has prepared for the lawsuit, and China will likely give Myanmar some tips for the hearings as well,” said U Maung Maung Soe.

He added that China does not want to see Myanmar get into trouble, as the country is strategically and geographically important for China’s agenda and its sphere of influence in the region.

In another development, Twenty-eight supporters from Myanmar on Sunday (December 08) joined Daw Aung San Suu Kyi in her trip to The Hague.

U Kyaw Htay Oo, one of the supporters, said that ICJ case is related to all Myanmar citizens because it could have huge impact on the dignity of the country.

It is not only a case for Daw Aung San Suu Kyi or the Military,” he told The Myanmar Times. “We want to show that we always follow and obey the leader we believe in. Therefore, we are supporting our leader with all the money and all the people we have.”

The 28 supporters are spending around US$2,000 per person for a round trip to The Hague. According to the supporters, they are going to The Hague using their own money.

The ICJ will hold hearings in the case from Tuesday to Thursday (December 10 – 12, 2019).

About 350 supporters of Myanmar based in European countries such as France and Norway will also be travelling to The Hague during the hearing of the case.

Earlier on Saturday (December 07), thousands of people gathered at the administrative capital of Nay Pyi Taw to show their support for the State Counsellor.

Gambia’s lawsuit

Gambia, acting on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Co – operation (OIC), has filed a lawsuit against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), allegedly on the ground of committing the crime of Genocide.

The Government of Myanmar has taken up the challenge to contest this case at the ICJ and the State Counsellor, Aung San Suu Kyi, in her capacity as the Minister for Foreign Affairs, will lead the legal team to defend her nation.

Myanmar’s legal team is expected to argue that genocide did not occur, that the top U.N. court lacks jurisdiction and that the case fails to meet a requirement that a dispute exists between Myanmar and Gambia.

Under the Charter of the United Nations (UN), all member states of the UN, including Myanmar, are bound by the Statute of the ICJ. 

The crime of ‘Genocide’ means acts committed with the intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national or racial group. It is an issue that concerns all civilized nations and peoples, especially those who were victims of colonial rule during the last 500 years against whom much of the brazen acts of Genocide were committed in many parts of the world.

Both the Government of Myanmar and its armed forces face many internal problems related to ethnic tensions. Turning to recent events in Myanmar, the ARSA (Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army) with links to radical Islamic terrorist groups have been responsible in Rakhine for acts of terrorism and slaughter of the innocents.

The Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA also known by its former name Harakah al-Yaqin (meaning Faith Movement in English),is a Rohingya insurgent group active in northern Rakhine StateMyanmar. According to a December 2016 report by the International Crisis Group (ICG), it is led by Ataullah abu Ammar Jununi, a Rohingya man who was born in KarachiPakistan, and grew up in MeccaSaudi Arabia. Other members of its leadership include a committee of Rohingya émigrés in Saudi Arabia.

The ICG reported on 14 December 2016 that in interviews, the leaders of ARSA claimed to have links to private individuals in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan. The ICG also claimed in unconfirmed reports that Rohingya villagers had been “secretly trained” by Afghan and Pakistani fighters.

Attack on Hindus

On 25 August 2017, Hindu villages in a cluster known as Kha Maung Seik in the northern Maungdaw District of Rakhine State in Myanmar were attacked and 99 Bengali Hindu villagers were massacred, by Muslim insurgents from the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA). A month later, the Myanmar Army discovered mass graves containing the corpses of 45 Hindus, most of whom were women and children.

Ni Maul, a Hindu leader who helped Myanmar’s authorities with the search of the bodies, told the media that the mass-graves were found from testimony of eight Hindu women whose lives were spared and brought to Bangladesh after they agreed to convert to Islam.

Four Hindu women in Bangladesh told Agence-France Presse that they were among the eight who escaped. They stated that they were forced to marry the attackers in order to save their lives and they were later taken to camps of Rohingya Muslims in Bangladesh.

The Hindu women stated that the militants found them beautiful and decided to convert them. They added that later the eight women along with children were taken to a house in Bawtalar village where they were forced to eat rice with meat, which is prohibited in their religion. They were then brought to Kutuparlaung refugee camp on August 28 where they were housed with Muslims and forced to wear burqas.

The Myanmar authorities accused the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) of perpetrating the Hindu massacre in the Kha Maung Seik area.

Tirana Hassan, Crisis Response Director at Amnesty International, said, ″It’s hard to ignore the sheer brutality of ARSA’s actions, which have left an indelible impression on the survivors we’ve spoken to.…………….In this brutal and senseless act, members of ARSA captured scores of Hindu women, men, and children and terrorized them before slaughtering them outside their own villages. The perpetrators of this heinous crime must be held to account″.

Kha Maung Seik massacre

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Co – ordinated attacks by ARSA

On 25 August 2017, the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army (ARSA) claimed responsibility for coordinated attacks on police posts and an attempted raid on an army base. The Myanmar government announced a death toll of 77 Rohingya insurgents and 12 security forces in northern Maungdaw following the attacks. The government stated that they had attacked a police station in the Maungdaw District with a handmade bomb alongside the coordinated attacks on several police posts.

In late August 2017, the Burmese government accused ARSA of killing 12 civilians, including Hindus and Muslims, some of whom were suspected by ARSA of being government informants. On 24 September 2017, Myanmar’s military accused ARSA of killing 28 Hindus in Ye Baw Kya village in the previous month after they uncovered their bodies in a mass grave

The elected Government of Myanmar with a mandate to protect the citizens of Myanmar, had no choice but to send its armed forces to Rakhine in order to protect Buddhists, Hindus, and various indigenous Tribal Groups, who faced the wrath of ARSA and the Bengali Muslims who have infiltrated Rakhine heavily with intent to grab land and dispossess the original inhabitants namely the citizens of Myanmar, from their traditional home land in Rakhine.  

A propaganda war has been launched against Myanmar by the OIC and the highly prejudiced international media such as Al Jazeera that totally ignores the Bengali Muslim land grab that blights Rakhine, the Chittagong Hill Tracts (Bangladesh), and various parts of India including Assam.

A similar situation of organized and co -ordinated violence arose in Sri Lanka, when on Easter Sunday April 21, 2019, suicide bombers linked to radical Islamic terrorist groups killed 259 people and injured over 500 people.   Three churches and three luxury hotels in Colombo were targeted in a series of coordinated terrorist suicide bombings.

Both Myanmar and Sri Lanka have a shared past linked to Theravada Buddhism running for over a thousand years. History shows that both countries had assisted each other in times of crisis when the survival of each country was at stake. An existential threat from a common source intending to displace Buddhism in both countries persists today. This trend is clearly visible in the narrative of the disappearance and replacement of Buddhism in several Asian countries during the last one thousand years.

The Dharmic (Indo – Buddhist) world must take cognizance of these historical developments and ask the question whether the current happenings in Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand (all Theravada Buddhist countries now besieged ) are but a continuation of a calibrated process set in motion over a thousand years ago to dislodge and finally replace Buddhism from its traditional primacy in Buddhist Asia.

It is worthy of note that Indian civilizational influence outside India prevails largely in Buddhist countries of Asia. The failure to counter aggressive Abrahamic incursions can only lead to the shrinking of Buddhist and Hindu space in South Asia, South East Asia and the Far East. It is in India’s long – term interest as a rising world power to extend both support and protection to countries where India’s Dharmic civilizational influence prevails and continues to be valued and deeply respected.

What can India and Buddhist majority countries do at the UN and International Court of Justice?

a)    Sri Lanka, India, Thailand, Nepal must join hands with China, Russia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, and several other countries that have unreservedly given their unqualified support to Myanmar at the UN.

b)    It is open to any country to intervene at the International Court of Justice in the capacity of an amicus curiae. What is ‘amicus curiae’? Latin ‘for friend of the court’. In other words, amicus curiae is an instrument for the benefit of the court, that assists it in some manner. Black’s Law Dictionary defines amicus curiae as ‘[a] person who is not a party to a lawsuit but who petitions the court or is requested by the court to file a brief in the action because that person has a strong interest in the subject matter.’ It is within the power of the ICJ to accept Amicus Curiae briefs from countries that have a strong interest in the proceedings and its outcome.

OIC is in the picture via Gambia. The absence of the equivalent of an OIC in the Buddhist world such as a summit level League of Buddhist Nations, is worrisome.

While European Christian heritage nations are protected heavily by the European Union (EU) and NATO, and Islamic countries have the powerful 57 member OIC to take up their cause at the drop of a hat, Buddhist countries lack an international Buddhist organization with clout to adequately defend them at a time of crisis.  

Between Turkey and Indonesia, there are only four non – Muslim countries, namely the pre-dominantly Hindu India, and three predominantly Buddhist countries, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand.

They all face threats to their survival from armed violence and demographic change.

Can they withstand the storm of history?

Senaka Weeraratna

December 10, 2019

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