İrem UZUN -TDO- The Nobel peace prize laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has defended Myanmar’s government against accusations of genocide at the international court of justice, calling the allegations an “incomplete and misleading factual picture of the situation in Rakhine state”. Addressing a bench of 17 judges from around the world, the 74-year-old leader dismissed reports of state violence against Rohingya Muslims and blamed the conflict on an uprising by separatist insurgents.

In her opening remarks, she called the case against Myanmar "incomplete and incorrect”. She said troubles in Rakhine, where many Rohingya lived, go back centuries. Thousands of Rohingya were killed and more than 700,000 fled to neighboring Bangladesh during an army crackdown in Buddhist-majority Myanmar in 2017.Myanmar has always insisted it was tackling an extremist threat in Rakhine state, and Suu Kyi maintained that stance, describing the violence as an "internal armed conflict" triggered by Rohingya militant attacks on government security posts.

The ICJ judges are hearing the first phase of the case until Thursday. The Gambia has argued that it is every country's duty under the 1948 Convention to prevent genocide from taking place. It has political support from the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), as well as several Western nations including Canada and the Netherlands. Additionally, the United States stiffened sanctions against the Southeast Asian nation's army chief, Min Aung Hlaing, and three other senior commanders on Tuesday over the killings."The United States will not tolerate torture, kidnapping, sexual violence, murder or brutality against innocent civilians," Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement.

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