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Aung San Suu Kyi, flanked by officials, leaving the nation's capital, Naypyidaw, on Dec. 8. Photo: Thet Aung/AFP via Getty Images

Myanmar's leader Aung San Suu Kyi departed the nation’s capital for The Hague on Sunday to defend the government in the UN’s high court against charges that it committed genocide against the country's Rohingya Muslims, Reuters reports.

The big picture: Suu Kyi, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1991, has defended Myanmar's military crackdown as a legitimate response to Rohingya militants, despite international condemnation. More than 700,000 have fled Myanmar to neighboring Bangladesh as a result of a campaign that the UN said was executed with “genocidal intent," according to Reuters.

  • In March 2018, Suu Kyi was stripped of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum's prestigious Elie Wiesel Award as a result of her failure to acknowledge the ethnic cleansing.
  • Gambia, a small nation in West Africa, filed a lawsuit against Buddhist-majority Myanmar in the International Criminal Court of Justice in November, accusing it of murdering, raping and displacing Rohingya Muslims.

What to watch: During three days of hearings starting on Dec. 10, Gambia will ask the 16-member panel of UN judges overseeing the case to impose measures to protect the Rohingya people before the case can be heard in full.

  • Suu Kyi, who remains popular in Myanmar, met the evening before her departure with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
  • Both countries pledged stronger ties, and Suu Kyi thanked China for defending Myanmar's national sovereignty by opposing foreign interference.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

16 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Vaccinations, relief timing dominate Sweet 16 call

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) speaks during a news conference in December with a group of bipartisan lawmakers. Photo: Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Vaccine distribution, pandemic data and a cross-party comity dominated today's virtual meeting between White House officials and a bipartisan group of 16 senators, Senator Angus King told Axios.

Why it matters: Given Democrats' razor-thin majority in both chambers of Congress, President Biden will have to rely heavily on this group of centrist lawmakers — dubbed the "Sweet 16" — to pass any substantial legislation.

Progressives pressure Schumer to end filibuster

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. Photo: Win McNamee / Getty Images

A progressive coalition is pressuring Chuck Schumer on his home turf by running a digital billboard in Times Square urging the new majority leader to end the Senate filibuster.

Why it matters: Schumer is up for re-election in 2o22 and could face a challenger, and he's also spearheading his party's broader effort to hold onto its narrow congressional majorities.

4 hours ago - Health

U.S. surpasses 25 million COVID cases

A mass COVID-19 vaccination site at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 22 in Los Angeles, California. Photo: Mario Tama/Getty Images

The U.S has confirmed more than 25 million coronavirus cases, per Johns Hopkins data updated on Sunday.

The big picture: President Biden has said he expects the country's death toll to exceed 500,000 people by next month, as the rate of deaths due to the virus continues to escalate.