Aung San Suu Kyi, once admired as a global symbol of democracy, is now in what would have been an unthinkable position.
She attended the International Court of Justice on Tuesday at The Hague for the opening of a case in which she's expected to defend the Myanmar military, the same force that had her detained for 15 years.
The case was initated last month by The Gambia, which accused Buddhist-majority Myanmar of violating its obligations under the 1948 Genocide Convention.
"So all that The Gambia asks is that you (ICJ) tell Myanmar to stop these senseless killings, to stop these acts of barbarity and brutality that have shocked and continue to shock our collective conscience, to stop this genocide of its own people."
More than 730,000 Rohingya Muslims fled Myanmar after the military-led crackdown in August 2017 and were forced into squalid camps across the border in neighboring Bangladesh.
In the process, the Myanmar government is being criticized for its alleged use of mass rape, murder and arson.
The UN investigators concluded that the military campaign was executed with “genocidal intent."
However, Myanmar has denied almost all the allegations made by refugees against its troops.
Aung San Suu Kyi is expected take the stand on Wednesday to again deny the charge of genocide and to argue that the military operations were a legitimate counterterrorism response to attacks by Rohingya militants on security forces.
Outside the court, dozens of Rohingya demonstrated to demand justice for the victims.
"I came here to support. I am a Rohingya. I support to my people because we are suffering since a long time. We have many histories."
Since Aung San Suu Kyi became the generals' protector, she has cemented her popularity at home, and she has vocal supporters around the world.
"Anyway, we stand for her and we are on her side. We love her, we support her, we are for her. So we come here for that."
The tribunal has no enforcement powers, however.
It cannot arrest Suu Kyi or any Myanmar military officials or make them take the stand.
But its rulings are final and have significant legal weight because they could lead to sanctions.
Moreover, with the International Criminal Court investigating the matter individually, there's a possibility it impacts Suu Kyi herself.
Choi Jeong-yoon, Arirang News.