THE de facto leader of Myanmar, Aung San Suu Kyi, has appeared at the UN International Court of Justice in The Hague, where she defended her government against allegations of genocide, brought by the Gambia.
Ms Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, told 17 international judges on Wednesday that the allegations presented an “incomplete and misleading factual picture of the situation” in Rakhine State.
In 2016, a military operation was launched against the Rohingya people there, who were forced from their homes in the face of mass atrocities. Almost one million are still refugees in neighbouring Bangladesh. A UN investigation described the operation as “brutal”, and warned that the state was failing to prevent genocide.
Ms Suu Kyi blamed the crisis on an uprising by separatist insurgents. She maintained that the military had been tackling an extremist threat, but agreed that soldiers might have used disproportionate force. Soldiers who had committed war crimes would be prosecuted, she said.
Ms Suu Kyi was kept under house arrest for almost 15 years by the same army, which refused to hand over power after her party won the 1990 elections.