The Gambian minister taking on Myanmar's Suu Kyi

Credit: Reuters Studio
Published on December 5, 2019 - Duration: 01:55s

The Gambian minister taking on Myanmar's Suu Kyi

Gambia's justice minister is coming to the aid of Myanmar's Rohingya Muslims and taking its case to The Hague.

Adam Reed reports

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The Gambian minister taking on Myanmar's Suu Kyi

After visiting the overcrowded refugee camps in Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar where hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims had fled to from Myanmar, painful memories came flooding back for Abubacarr Tambadou.

Even though he's the justice minister for a country over 11,000 miles away...Gambia.

The tales of horror here -- rape, executions, children burned alive -- felt all too familiar.

Because he spent more than a decade prosecuting cases from Rwanda's 1994 genocide.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GAMBIA'S JUSTICE MINISTER, ABUBACARR TAMBADOU, SAYING: "I could tell that these stories were very, very similar to the stories that I had heard in the past and so I thought this was not right.

Something has to be done about it." Next week his legal team will face off in The Hague against a delegation led by Myanmar's leader and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi.

Myanmar has always held that their security forces were fighting armed militants, and no genocide ever happened there.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) GAMBIA'S JUSTICE MINISTER, ABUBACARR TAMBADOU, SAYING: "We know too well how it feels like to be unable to tell your story to the world, to be unable to share your pain in the hope that someone out there will hear and help and we do not want others to suffer our fate and our pain.

I am glad that very senior members of the government will be at the court, It shows, as I said, the seriousness with which they have taken this case." Tambadou will ask the judges to immediately order Myanmar to cease violence against Rohingya civilians and preserve evidence that could eventually form the basis of a finding that Myanmar has committed genocide.

Suu Kyi's office said she would attend the hearings to "defend the national interest of Myanmar" and supporters have rallied behind her in street demonstrations and on social media.

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