The International Court of Justice (ICJ) will begin hybrid hearings on the Rohingya genocide with representatives from the Myanmar military junta today.
Wunna Maung Lwin from the military junta will represent Myanmar in the ICJ hearings. Lwin’s status as Myanmar’s representative has significant pushback from the shadow government, National Unity Government (NUG) and civil society organizations alike, as it provides further legitimacy to the military junta.
The NUG recently publicized its intentions to withdraw preliminary objections made at the ICJ in 2017 and asked junta representatives to be replaced with NUG representatives at court. While this withdrawal could become a monumental move in this case, NUG is yet to be recognized as a legitimate government.
Without formal recognition from other countries and international entities, NUG’s withdrawal of its preliminary objections will not have any effect on the Rohingya genocide case. The military, to bolster its legitimacy, may likely offer repatriation efforts of Rohingyas back to their homeland. ICJ recognition of the junta could signal a turn towards “business-as-usual” within the ASEAN. With Cambodia leading ASEAN this year, this appearance will likely reintroduce economic opportunities for the junta within the region – a desired outcome for the junta.
Prior to joining Foreign Brief, Htet interned at the Karuna Center for Peacebuilding, where she worked on peacebuilding and conflict resolution efforts in Myanmar, Nigeria, and Ethiopia. During this time, she also oversaw and arranged program activities regarding Indigenous land issues in the Connecticut River Valley. In addition, she participated in the Young Professionals Program at the East-West Center where she wrote short articles on US-Asia local relations for the Asia Matters for America website. Htet is a current MA candidate at the Johns Hopkins University of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), focusing on Southeast Asia and international development, climate, and sustainability.