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Dr Yunus, 7 other Nobel peace laureates: Suu Kyi must be held criminally accountable at ICJ

  • Published at 11:26 am December 10th, 2019
Suu Kyi
Myanmar's State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi attends the 10th Asean-UN Summit in Bangkok on November 3, 2019 AFP

They called on Suu Kyi to publicly acknowledge at ICJ the crimes committed against the Rohingyas

Eight Nobel peace laureates including Dr Muhammad Yunus have demanded that Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar's state counsellor and its de facto president, must be held criminally accountable, along with her army commanders, for crimes committed against the Rohingyas.

They called on Suu Kyi, also a Nobel Peace Prize recipient, to publicly acknowledge the crimes, including genocide, committed against the Rohingyas at the International Court of Justice (ICJ), Nobel Women's Initiative reported on Monday.

"We are deeply concerned that instead of condemning these crimes, Aung San Suu Kyi is actively denying that these atrocities even occurred."  

Also Read- Myanmar faces the music

The west African country Gambia filed a lawsuit in November 2019 with the ICJ -- the United Nations' highest court -- over the atrocities, accusing Myanmar of breaching the 1948 Genocide Convention.  

Myanmar's civilian leader Suu Kyi will appear before the court on Tuesday as the Buddhist state disputes claims that it tried to exterminate the minority Rohingya Muslims in a 2017 military crackdown.

The Nobel peace laureates commended the Gambia for taking step to hold Myanmar responsible for the genocide and advancing justice for the victims of these crimes. 

They said: "As people of peace, we urge Aung San Suu Kyi to address the systematic discrimination of the Rohingya in Rakhine State, and ensure the Rohingya's right to nationality, land ownership, freedom of movement, and other fundamental rights."

"We also urge her to exercise her personal and moral responsibility towards the Rohingya and acknowledge and condemn the genocide committed under her watch."

File photo of Rohingya women and children in a camp in Cox Bazar | Mahmud Hossain Opu/ Dhaka Tribune

The eight Nobel Peace Laureates are -- Shirin Ebadi, (2003) – Iran; Leymah Gbowee, (2011) – Liberia; Tawakkol Karman, (2011) – Yemen; Mairead Maguire, (1976) – Northern Ireland; Rigoberta Menchú Tum, (1992) – Guatemala; Jody Williams, (1997) – USA; Kailash Satyarthi, (2014) – India and Dr Muhammad Yunus, (2006) — Bangladesh. 

In February 2018, Shirin Ebadi, Tawakkol Karman, and Mairead Maguire visited the Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar.

They spent time with and listened to the stories of over 100 women refugees. After hearing testimonies describing how security forces burned villages, tortured, killed and systematically raped women and girls -- as well as reports from humanitarian organizations and UN officials -- the laureates concluded that the attacks on the Rohingyas in Rakhine State amounted to crimes against humanity and genocide.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingya refugees, most of whom entered Cox's Bazar from August 25, 2017, amid a military crackdown on the Rohingyas in Rakhine.

Not a single Rohingya was repatriated over the last two years due to Myanmar's "failure" to build confidence among the Rohingya and a conducive environment in Rakhine.

Bangladesh has so far handed over names of over one lakh Rohingyas to Myanmar authorities for verification and to subsequently expedite their repatriation efforts, but Myanmar is yet to take back its nationals from Bangladesh, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka.