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Saturday, June 26, 2021

Junta forms new legal team to face Rohingya genocide allegations at ICJ

Coconuts Yangon
Jun 25, 2021 
Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin at the UN Assembly’s 70th annual General Debate. Photo: UN News


Myanmar junta’s military council has set up a legal team to defend itself against allegations of genocide of Rohingya Muslims at the International Criminal Court (ICJ) on July 23.

Foreign Minister Wunna Maung Lwin, appointed by the military council, chaired the meeting. Attorney General of the Union Daw Thida Oo has been appointed as the Vice-Chairperson.

Members of the new legal team include Cabinet Office Minister Minister Lt. Gen. Yar Pyae, Minister for Planning and Finance Win Shein, and Commander-in-Chief Lieutenant General Myo Zaw Thein.

In December 2019, the ICJ heard a case from Gambia which alleged that the Myanmar military had performed genocide against Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine State. Ousted State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi defended Myanmar in that hearing.

The military has denied using excessive force in its crackdown on the Rohingya, and said there was no evidence that the entire ethnic group has been wiped out.

In January 2020, the ICJ ordered Provisional Measures for Myanmar to comply with Genocide conventions, and ordered the country to report to the court every six months. Myanmar does not accept the term Rohingya, but accepts the ICJ’s decision.

According to the Assistance Association for Political Prisoners, the military has killed at least 877 people and imprisoned more than 6,200 since the Feb. 1 coup. Of those arrested, 5,088 remain in detention and at least 25 individuals have been tortured to death after being arrested by regime authorities.

Nonetheless, military chief Min Aung Hlaing said at an International Security Conference in Moscow on June 23 that some countries were interfering in the internal affairs of Myanmar on the pretext of democracy and human rights.



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