Thank you, Mr President and Members of the Court. It is an honour to appear as Agent of the Union of the Republic of Myanmar in these proceedings, in my capacity as Union Minister of Foreign Affairs. For materially less resourceful countries like Myanmar, the World Court is a vital refuge of international justice. We look to the Court to establish conditions conducive to respect for obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law, one of the fundamental objectives of the United Nations Charter.
In the present case, Mr President, the Court has been asked to apply the 1948 Genocide Convention, one of the most fundamental multilateral treaties of our time. Invoking the 1948 Genocide Convention is a matter of utmost gravity. This is the treaty that we made following the systematic killing of more than six million European Jews, and that my country wholeheartedly signed as early as December 30, 1949 and ratified on March 14, 1956. Genocide is the crime that the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda applied in response to the mass-killing of perhaps 70 percent of the Tutsis in Rwanda. It is the crime that was not applied by the Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia to the displacement of approximately one million residents of Kosovo in 1999. Neither was it applied by that Tribunal nor by this Court when deciding upon the exodus of the Serb population from Croatia in 1995. In both situations international justice resisted the temptation to use this strongest of legal classifications because the requisite specific intent to physically destroy the targeted group in whole or in part was not present.