Myanmar lead lawyer Schabas changes side

Sheikh Shahariar Zaman
Published : 14:35, Dec 10, 2019 | Updated : 14:45, Dec 10, 2019

A Rohingya refugee repairs the roof of his shelter at the Balukhali refugee camp in Cox`s Bazar, Bangladesh, Mar 5, 2019. REUTERS/FILE PHOTO

When the people of Bangladesh were not even familiar with the ‘Rohingyas’ let alone the whole world, an expert said that ‘warning signs’ were in place for a genocide of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

In 2013, former president of the International Association of Genocide Scholars Professor William Schabas, in an interview to Aljazeera said, “We’re moving into a zone where the word can be used”.

Six years later, the same professor is now the lead lawyer of Myanmar legal team, which will be defending the genocidal act that Myanmar military in connivance with the civil administration and local Rakhine people committed.

In the interview, professor Schabas, an expert on international criminal law, said, “We’re moving into a zone where the word can be used (in the case of the Rohingya). When you see measures preventing births, trying to deny the identity of the people, hoping to see that they really are eventually, that they no longer exist, denying their history, denying the legitimacy of the right to live where they live, these are all warning signs that mean that it’s not frivolous to envisage the use of the term genocide.”

When asked, law practioner Kawser Ahmed said, changing sides by lawyers without considering moral standard or ethical practices are not uncommon.

He, however, said, if there is no code of conduct for appointment of lawyers, then it is legally correct, but not morally laudable.