DHAKA – Rights activists in Bangladesh hoped on Thursday that an Argentine lawsuit filed against Myanmar leader Aung San Suu Kyi would widen the global opinion about the crimes committed against Rohingyas and lead to possible prosecution of officials of the Southeast Asian country.
A Rohingya leader said they were aware of the lawsuit in Argentina and hoped that Suu Kyi and other Myanmar officials would face trial for crimes committed against the members of the stateless minority community who have taken refuge in Bangladesh to escape a military crackdown in their homeland.
“Aung San Suu Kyi is a criminal, general Min Aung Hlaing (Myanmar army chief) is a criminal. There are many criminals (…) responsible for the genocide. We want their trial,” said Abdur Rahim, a leader of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights.
A Rohingya organization filed a complaint in Argentina on Wednesday over alleged crimes against the ethnic minority group in Myanmar.
If the case succeeds, it would be the first time that Myanmar leaders, including State Councilor Suu Kyi, are judged on allegations of genocide against the ethnic minority.
The development came two days after Gambia took a lawsuit to the ICC accusing Myanmar of genocide.
Nur Khan Liton, a former director of Bangladesh human rights group Ain o Salish Kendra and an adviser of the Human Rights Support Society, said the criminal case in Argentina would help create more awareness about anti-Rohingya crimes.
“At least, one country has now accepted a case against the heinous crime she (Suu Kyi) is involved in,” said Liton, who works for Rohingya rights in Bangladesh. “This case can be used as a reference for her position against humanity.”
He alleged that when the world was condemning, Suu Kyi supported the atrocities and “committed a crime against humanity.”
The activist said the Argentina lawsuit could complement the case in the ICC that opened a preliminary investigation last year into allegations of deportation of Rohingyas to neighboring Bangladesh.
Nearly 738,000 Rohingya refugees are living in Bangladesh camps since Aug. 25, 2017, following a wave of persecution and violence in Myanmar that the UN has described as a textbook example of ethnic cleansing and possible genocide.
Myanmar does not use the Rohingya term and also doesn’t recognize them as its citizens, arguing they are illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.