KUALA LUMPUR--A Malaysian legal expert has laughed off a Filipino claim that Malaysia committed genocide in its battle against Suluk insurgents in Sabah.
Bar Council president Lim Chee Wee says, that Malaysia, in fact, acted with restraint and that it had no intention of killing at all.
Lim also says that the country has the right to self- defence considering it was faced with an armed attack.
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Quoting Article 6 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (which defines the act of genocide) Lim says: "There was no intent on the part of the Malaysian Government to kill because it exercised the use of force pursuant to the inherent right of State to self- defence if an armed attack occurs or anticipatory self-defence, which is the use of force by a state to repel an attacker before an actual attack has taken place, before the army of the enemy has crossed its border, and before the bombs of the enemy fall upon its territory."
"Such right exists under customary international law," he told Yahoo! Malaysia.
Lim was responding to a call by a constitutional and international law expert Marwil Llasos to have Malaysia charged with committing genocide for 'launching an all-out attack' in the Lahad Datu clash a week ago.
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Lim said Malaysia had acted with restraint. "This is certainly the case in Malaysia where around 180 or 200 or 300 armed intruders, depending on which news report you rely on, sailed from Philippines to Sabah to claim that it is their homeland," he said.
Llasos backed his genocide claim by by saying Malaysia had attacked a particular tribe or group like the Tausug indiscriminately, affecting those who were not part of the armed gunmen from the Sulu Sultanate.
Llasos had also criticised Malaysia for not considering the unarmed civilians who went with Kiram’s brother, Agbimuddin, when the authorities launched mopping operations against at least 200 followers.
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Lim however, cautioned that Malaysian authorities must be careful in dealing with the deadly clashes in Lahad Datu.
"Regardless of how we may feel about them and what they have done, we must continue to conduct ourselves with a strong sense of dignity and professionalism, even if they have chosen not to."
"Further, there are women and children caught up in the conflict, and they should have access to assistance and protection through international agencies," he said.
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