The UN’s highest court is beginning a hearing into allegations of genocide in Burma over the military campaign against the Rohingya minority.
The country’s leader Aung San Suu Kyi is set to defend those who once held her under house arrest during the hearing in The Hague in the Netherlands.
Burma’s military began a harsh counterinsurgency campaign against the Rohingya in August 2017 in response to an insurgent attack.
More than 700,000 Rohingya fled to neighbouring Bangladesh to escape what has been called an ethnic cleansing campaign involving mass rapes, killings and the torching of homes.
The head of a UN fact-finding mission on Burma warned in October that “there is a serious risk of genocide recurring”.
It also found that Burma should be held responsible in international legal forums for alleged genocide against the Rohingya.
Gambia filed the case at the International Court of Justice, demanding that the world court take “all measures within its power to prevent all acts that amount to or contribute to the crime of genocide”.
Gambia took the action on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation.
Ms Suu Kyi, who was awarded the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize for championing democracy and human rights under Burma’s then-ruling junta, will lead the Burma delegation to The Hague in her capacity as foreign minister.
This week’s hearings run until Thursday.