Nobel Winner in Court, Accused of Genocide

Aung San Suu Kyi is defending her country, Myanmar, at the Hague
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2019 10:00 AM CST
Suu Kyi in Court for Genocide Hearing
Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi sits in the courtroom of the International Court of Justice in the Hague in the Netherlands on Tuesday.   (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

A genocide hearing got underway at the Hague Tuesday, and it's prompting news outlets such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle, and the Guardian to use the same phrase: "fall from grace." The reference is to Aung San Suu Kyi, who once won the Nobel Peace Prize and is now the leader of Myanmar. However, it's her nation accused of genocide, and Suu Kyi herself is implicated for standing by her generals during the military's crackdown against Muslim Rohingya in 2017. More than 700,000 fled the nation, and Myanmar's soldiers are accused of mass rape, torture, and the murder of thousands. Suu Kyi herself flew to the Netherlands for the three-day hearing, and she's no mere spectator—she will lead her nation's defense, arguing that the military went after only extremists.

That's not how Gambian prosecutor Abubacarr Marie Tambadou sees it. "Another genocide is unfolding right before our eyes, yet we do nothing to stop it," he told the UN's International Court of Justice on Tuesday. "This is a stain on our collective conscience," he added. "It's not only the state of Myanmar that is on trial here, it's our collective humanity that is being put on trial." Suu Kyi is expected to address the court on Wednesday. She didn't speak to reporters Tuesday, and she sat expressionless in court as prosecutors laid out the case against her nation. (Amnesty International rescinded a humanitarian honor it once bestowed upon Suu Kyi.)

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