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ICC rejects calls to investigate China genocide of Uyghurs

The ICC has rejected calls by exiled Uyghur Muslims to investigate China for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity

December 15, 2020 at 3:42 pm

The International Criminal Court (ICC) has rejected calls to investigate China’s persecution and reported genocide of the Uyghur Muslims, dealing a huge blow to the human rights of the minority and its diaspora.

The case against China was presented in July, when the ICC was handed a significant dossier by exiled Uyghurs showing evidence of the authorities’ persecution of the minority in the north-west province of Xinjiang. The crimes against humanity included the detention of over one million Uyghurs and others in “re-education camps” and the torture, sexual abuse and forceful sterilisation of women.

That dossier has now been rejected by the office of ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda, however, due to the fact that the crimes were committed within the territory of China which is not a signatory state to the ICC. There was thus no firm basis for the case to proceed, with Bensouda’s office saying in its annual report yesterday: “This precondition for the exercise of the court’s territorial jurisdiction did not appear to be met with respect to the majority of the crimes alleged.”

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There were also claims presented of Uyghurs being forcefully deported from Tajikistan and Cambodia back to China, but they were reportedly not sufficient as a basis for the court to follow them through.

According to the report, the Uyghur claimants have urged the ICC to reconsider the decision “on the basis of new facts or evidence,” reasoning that the court could at least work on the deportation cases due to the fact that both Tajikistan and Cambodia are members of the institution.

China has repeatedly denied the reports and evidences of the detention camps it is keeping large sectors of the Uyghur population in, and has condemned claims that it is repressing the minority Muslim population in the region. Beijing insists, instead, that it is tackling terrorism and extremism by peacefully re-educating those detained.

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