(SOUNDBITE) (English) MYANMAR'S LEADER, AUNG SAN SUU KYI, SAYING: "Myanmar requests the court to remove the case from its list...." Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi called on World Court judges on Thursday to dismiss an accusation of genocide for alleged atrocities against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority, saying its own justice system should be given the chance to work first.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) MYANMAR'S LEADER, AUNG SAN SUU KYI, SAYING: "Mr. President, it is vital for Myanmar's present and future that our civilian and military criminal justice systems functions in accordance with the constitution.
Where a country has a military justice system, neutralizing this system by externalizing justice in effect surgically removes a critical limb from the body.
The limb that helps armed forces to self-correct, to improve, to better perform their functions within the constitutional order." Gambia has accused Myanmar of violating the 1948 Genocide Convention in a military campaign that expelled hundreds of thousands of 730,000 Rohingya from Myanmar.
It has asked the International Court of Justice to order “provisional measures” to prevent more harm.
But Suu Kyi - a Nobel Peace Prize winner who was once championed in the West for her decades-long fight for democracy in Myanmar - has denied the genocide.
She told the court on Wednesday that the the military-led “clearance operation,” as she called it, in western Rakhine State was a counterterrorism response to Rohingya militant attacks against dozens of police stations in August 2017.
She argued that Myanmar was taking steps to punish soldiers responsible for what it has said were isolated cases of wrongdoing.
Gambia's lawyer said statements from that Myanmar was taking action to prosecute members of its military, called the Tatmadaw, were not credible.
(SOUNDBITE) (English) GAMBIA'S LEAD LAWYER, PAUL REICHLER, SAYING: "How can anyone possibly expect the Tatmadaw to hold itself accountable for genocidal acts against the Rohingya, when six of its top generals including the commander-in-chief, Senior General Min Aung Hlaing, have all been accused of genocide by the UN fact-finding mission and recommended for criminal prosecution?" A U.N.
Report in 2018 said the Myanmar military had carried out killings and mass rape with “genocidal intent” in 2017.
More than 730,000 Rohingya fled Myanmar to Bangladesh after the military launched its crackdown.
Investigators have said 10,000 people may have been killed.
The presiding judge at the World Court said the 17-judge panel would render an order “as soon as possible” but gave no specific date.