Myanmar’s de facto leader and Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi will head a delegation to the UN’s top court to defend a case accusing her country of genocide against Rohingya Muslims, the government said Wednesday.
West African nation Gambia is due to open its case before the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in December on behalf of the 57 member states of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
The complaint accuses Myanmar of breaching the 1948 UN Genocide Convention through its brutal military campaign in 2017, which targeted the Rohingya minority in Rakhine state.
In the opening hearings, the small, majority-Muslim African country is expected to ask the court to make an emergency injunction to protect the Rohingya, pending a decision on whether to deal with the wider case.
The country has repeatedly justified the crackdown on the Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine and insists its own committees are adequate to investigate allegations of abuse.
Some 740,000 Rohingya were forced to flee into sprawling camps in Bangladesh after the brutal 2017 military crackdown, in violence that United Nations investigators concluded amounted to genocide.
The case will be the first international legal attempt to bring Myanmar to justice over the Rohingya crisis, and is a rare example of a country suing another over an issue to which it is not directly a party.