Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi urged UN judges on Thursday to drop a genocide case against her country, warning it risked reigniting the crisis that forced nearly three-quarters of a million Rohingya Muslims from their homes.
Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi leaves the International Court of Justice in The Hague, Netherlands, December 12, 2019. (Photo: CGTN)
In her closing arguments after a three-day hearing at the ICJ, Suu Kyi issued a stark warning to judges that allowing The Gambia's case against Myanmar to go ahead could "undermine reconciliation."
The Nobel peace laureate earlier denied accusations of genocide caused by Myanmar's armed forces at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague.
Suu Kyi said the Myanmar army only intervened after an attack by fighters of the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army in August 2017. She pointed out that tensions have existed for centuries between different groups in the Rakhine state in Myanmar.
Gambia, on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC), filed a complaint with the ICJ against Myanmar over alleged violation of the 1948 Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in western Rakhine state.
Public hearings have been held at the request of Gambia at the ICJ, scheduled from Tuesday to Thursday.
The Gambia has asked the ICJ to order "provisional measures" to prevent more harm.
But Suu Kyi said the UN court should not have jurisdiction.
"Myanmar requests the court to remove the case from its list," Suu Kyi said on the third and final day of hearings in The Hague. "In the alternative (the court should) reject the request for provisional measures submitted by The Gambia."
Suu Kyi led a team of lawyers to the ICJ to defend the Myanmar government and military.
She called the issue an internal armed conflict and asked the judges to "refrain from action that might be aggravated."
She said Myanmar is doing everything it can to ensure that the Rohingya refugees can return safely.