Her name means beautiful, and she is despite her tragic life. Hasina recalls the day when the Myanmar army set fire to her village and killed the inhabitants, including 10 members of her family, as she watched. She is appearing as a witness at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in the tranquil capital of the Netherlands.
The Hague has hosted the ICJ for all the years of its existence. The Court's mandate sets it apart for it hears disputes between countries; hence the Rohingya case brought by Gambia against Myanmar. The Court has moral authority and prestige but no means to implement its rulings.
Sitting impassively, the queen of composure, although as tarnished as her Nobel Peace Prize, Aung San Suu Kyi listens as the Gambian prosecutor, Justice Minister Abubacarr Tambadou, recites the litany of horrors that forced three-quarters of a million Rohingya to give up their land, crops and livestock and flee for their lives. Now they endure the difficulties and misery of refugee camps.
To believe Suu Kyi's version, one would have to believe a mass hysteria of self-immolation, and disregard the film clips and the trail of news reports on the events of the time. Yet there she sits, flowers in her carefully combed, dyed hair, always dressed immaculately, a figure remote from the gruesome reality addressed to the court. She says the Court would subvert Myanmar's own justice system, which should be left to deal with the problem.
Exactly how is unclear when the UN fact-finding mission implicated the six top Myanmar generals in the genocide. This report blamed Aung San Suu Kyi, citing her directly for she "contributed to the commission of atrocity crimes" by failing to use her "moral authority," by allowing hate speech to foment hatred and by failing to protect the minorities from what the UN labels, crimes against humanity.
The Independent International Fact-Finding Mission as the UN panel was known was chaired by Marzaki Darusman, who called the findings, "grim," said "establishing facts is the first stepping stone towards change."
The facts are what Myanmar's leadership refuses to acknowledge publicly. "A thief never admits he is a thief," says Mohammed Mohibullah, who is chairman of the Arakan Rohingya Society for Peace and Human Rights.
Another refugee, Nur Kamal, also rejects Suu Kyi's testimony. "The military cordoned off people and killed them by opening fire, setting them ablaze. Isn't that genocide."