International Criminal Court Urged to Probe Crimes Against Uyghur Muslims

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In the latest attempt by international human rights lawyers to get an investigation started at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague into allegations of atrocities against Uyghurs by China, a group of attorneys have presented evidence to prosecutors at the court that they say establishes jurisdiction for the global tribunal to investigate allegations Chinese authorities are involved in grave crimes targeting the majority Muslim ethnic group, reports the Associated Press. In a statement, the lawyers said their dossier establishes “that Uyghurs have been targeted, rounded up, forcibly disappeared and deported from Tajikistan” back into China’s western Xinjiang region “by Chinese operatives.”

The filing seeks to use the legal precedent of an investigation opened by the ICC into allegations of mass deportations and persecution of Rohingya people by Myanmar forces in which a panel of ICC judges ruled in 2019 that the court “may exercise jurisdiction over crimes when part of the criminal conduct takes place on the territory of a State Party.” The lawyers who submitted the dossier say their findings are based on witness testimonies and investigations in countries including ICC member Tajikistan. In a report issued in December, ICC prosecutors said that “there was no basis to proceed at this time” with an investigation into the allegations. Beijing rejects allegations that it is committing crimes despite the fact that an estimated 1 million people or more — most of them Uyghurs — have been confined in re-education camps in China’s western Xinjiang region in recent years.

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