THE HAGUE, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Hearings began on Tuesday at the International Court of Justice in The Hague, where Myanmar is accused of genocide against its minority Muslim Rohingya population during a 2017 military crackdown.
Gambia, which launched proceedings in November at the U.N.’s top court, asked the 17-member panel of judges to approve so-called provisional measures – an order instructing Myanmar to halt activities that could aggravate the case or harm the Rohingya people until the case is heard in full, possibly in 2020.
That request is expected to be ruled upon within weeks, but cases at the tribunal, also called the World Court, can take years to conclude in full.
Demonstrations were held on Tuesday in Myanmar, Bangladesh and outside the courtroom in the Netherlands, both for and against Aung San Suu Kyi, the country’s leader and a Nobel Peace laureate.
Here is a collection of quotes from people taking part:
Moe Moe Hnin, 52, came from Belgium to support Suu Kyi:
“Yes, military dictators have been committing human rights violations in the whole of Burma. You have to see them separately. It is not Burma, it is not the Burmese people or our religion. We are not racist.
“Anyway, we stand for her. We are on her side. She stands for us. She stands for the whole of Burma. She stands for every religion, all the people of Burma.”
Hamid Hossain, a Rohingya refugee in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh:
“All of us are praying and many are fasting for justice. We pray to Allah that we will get justice. We’re offering special prayers at mosques.
“We’ll fight for our rights until the last drop of our blood. We won’t let it go. We want justice. Our people were killed, our children were thrown into fire, our women were raped, our houses were burnt down. All we want is a fair trial. And through the trial, the truth will be revealed.”
Ngu War Myint, 43, came from Denmark to the Netherlands with her husband to support Suu Kyi:
“I believe that mother Suu is the only one who can solve this issue. I came to support her.
“They can live in our country if they follow the rules, but we cannot give them (Rohingya) citizenship.”
Nurul Amin, 30, who fled to Cox’s Bazar with his pregnant wife:
“As we walked through the forest, we saw burnt villages and dead bodies during our 12-day journey to Bangladesh. My wife was two months pregnant. I still shiver in fear when I think of those days. I hope the truth will be revealed through a fair trial.”
Pencilo, who came to The Hague from Myanmar to support Suu Kyi and held a rose for her outside the courtroom:
“Our country’s leader is standing at the front and solving the issue and I want to be dutiful as a citizen so I came here.
“Supporting Daw Aung San Suu Kyi does not mean we support genocide. Daw Aung San Suu Kyi also doesn’t support genocide. This situation is like our whole country is being sued. The court will decide on it. We are just supporting our leader who is solving the issue for the interest of the country.”
Sobhida, a Myanmar Buddhist monk living in Amsterdam, who came to The Hague to attend the hearings:
“I am an ambassador for global peace organizations, so I am here to listen to how righteous the world’s accusations are. I will stand on the right side as a peace ambassador.” (Reporting by Shoon Naing in The Hague and Ruma Paul at Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh; Editing by Alex Richardson)