PRESS RELEASE: Uyghur Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity: Credible Evidence submitted to ICC for the first time asking for investigation of Chinese officials

Press Release – For immediate release
6 July 2020
Contact: East Turkistan Government in Exile www.east-turkistan.net
+1 202 599 2244 (Ext: 1) or contact@east-turkistan.net

Uyghur Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity: Credible Evidence submitted to ICC for the first time asking for investigation of Chinese officials

  • Lawyers have submitted a Complaint to the Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) at the ICC asking for an investigation to be opened against senior Chinese leaders for Genocide and Crimes against Humanity allegedly committed against the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples.
  • The Complaint is filed on behalf of the East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM).
  • China is not a signatory to the Rome Statute but the Court can exercise jurisdiction over these crimes because part of the criminal conduct has occurred within the territory of two signatories to the Rome Statute – Tajikistan and Cambodia.
  • Uyghur victims have been unlawfully deported into occupied East Turkistan from Tajikistan and Cambodia. Upon return to China they have been subjected to crimes together with many other detained Uyghurs including murder, unlawful imprisonment, torture, forced birth control and sterilization, and forced marriages.
  • This has been a concerted and widespread campaign by the Chinese government to round up tens of thousands of Uyghurs abroad and those who have fled persecution, to force them back into occupied East Turkistan.
  • The submission identifies the roles played by senior Chinese officials (including President Xi Jinping), requesting the Prosecutor to investigate them for planning and directing the campaign in which these widespread crimes are being perpetrated.
  • The Complaint has been prepared by a legal team led by British Barrister, Rodney Dixon QC, Temple Garden Chambers, London and The Hague.
  • A full press conference to mark the anniversary of the Urumqi massacre and submission of the Complaint will be held on Tuesday July 7th 2020 at 9.30 AM in Washington DC and 3.30 PM in The Hague. (See details below.)

THE HAGUE – Today, lawyers representing the East Turkistan Government in Exile (ETGE) and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement (ETNAM) have submitted a lengthy Complaint to the ICC asking the OTP to open an investigation into Genocide and other Crimes Against Humanity allegedly committed against the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan by senior Chinese Leaders including President Xi Jinping.

The ETGE considers East Turkistan (the region known as Xinjiang) to be a colony or occupied territory which as an independent state would be known as East Turkistan as it had been prior to Chinese Communist occupation in 1949. As set out in the Complaint to the ICC, crimes have historically been committed in East Turkistan by Chinese forces since 1884. The bulk of the Complaint focuses on the marked increase in crimes following the Urumqi massacre on 5th-7th July 2009, eleven years ago today.  

The crimes committed against the Uyghurs, Kazakhs, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic peoples which should be investigated include:

  • massacres;
  • mass internment camps;
  • torture;
  • disappearances;
  • forced birth control and sterilisation;
  • forcible transfer of children from their families to Chinese state orphanages and boarding schools;
  • measures aimed at eliminating the use of the Uyghur and other Turkic language in schools;
  • enhanced surveillance of Uyghurs and other Turkic peoples significantly beyond that experienced by Han Chinese;  
  • repressive measures against Islam; and,
  • organ harvesting.

The evidence of the crimes provided in the Complaint is detailed and shocking. It includes descriptions of brutal torture through electrocution, humiliation in the form of being forced to eat pork and drink alcohol, mandatory insertion of IUD birth control for Uyghur women of child-bearing age – of which there is recent evidence of a major increase, and an estimated 500,000 Uyghur children being separated from their families and sent to “orphanage camps” where there have been credible reports of attempted suicide by the children. 

Legal Basis:

The Chinese Government has conducted a campaign to round up Uyghurs abroad and who have fled East Turkistan as a result of the crimes committed against them in China. They have been forced back into occupied East Turkistan including from Tajikistan and Cambodia. This has been carried out by Chinese officials and police. After being arrested and forcefully deported back into China, they have been subjected to human rights abuses and serious crimes. This is a breach of international law. 

The Complaint has been submitted in light of, and relies on, the decisions of ICC Pre-Trial Chambers I and III of 6 September 2018 and 14 November 2019 respectively (decisions related to Bangladesh and Myanmar in reference to Rohingya people), which clarified that the Court may exercise jurisdiction over international crimes under Article 12(2)(a) of the Statute when part of the criminal conduct takes place on the territory of a signatory. In this case, Tajikistan and Cambodia.

The Crimes committed against the Uyghur people have been widespread and systematic. They have taken place on a mass scale and should therefore all be investigated in order to ascertain whether the alleged perpetrators can be charged and tried. As the Court held in the Rohingya cases, continuing crimes that commence on the territory of an ICC State Party come within the jurisdiction of the Court and can be investigated. These crimes include Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity.

STATEMENTS:

The Government of East Turkistan in Exile: “Today is a historic day. Not only is it the eleventh anniversary of the Urumchi Massacre, it marks the first step in what we hope will be the ultimate liberation of our people. For too long we have been oppressed by China and its Chinese Communist Party and we have suffered so much that the Genocide of our people can no longer be ignored. We are hopeful that the Prosecutor will see that our claim has merit, that she will do the right thing and open an investigation into the crimes. The Uyghur and the other Turkic peoples of East Turkistan deserve justice for the atrocities that are being committed against them by the Chinese Government every day. We are hopeful that Justice will prevail.”

Rodney Dixon QC: “The filing on behalf of the East Turkistan Government in exile confirms that the ICC has jurisdiction over international crimes allegedly committed against the Uyghur and other Turkic peoples. For too long it was assumed that nothing could be done by the world’s criminal court. There is now a clear legal pathway to justice for the millions of Uyghurs who are allegedly being persecuted on mass by the Chinese authorities. It is a breakthrough and momentous opportunity whichwe urge the ICC Prosecutor to pursue without delay. This chance should not be squandered.”  

-ENDS-

To arrange an interview or for further clarification please email media@east-turkistan.net Please also send an email in order to attend the Press event on July 7th in DC or The Hague. It will also be live-streamed on the social media pages of the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement: https://twitter.com/ETAwakening
https://www.facebook.com/ETAwakening/
East Turkistan Government in Exile (English): https://twitter.com/ETExileGov

NOTES:

Alleged Perpetrators:

Whilst victims have been able to identify specific individuals to be investigated for crimes which they are alleged to have committed, the Complaint urges that those at the highest levels and most responsible for the military, armed forces and police forces of the Chinese Government should be investigated and held accountable for the actions and crimes committed on a mass scale against the Uyghur, Kazakh, Kyrgyz, and other Turkic  peoples of East Turkistan. This investigation must necessarily extend to the Chinese President himself, Mr. Xi Jinping. The full list of suspects is annexed to the Complaint.

History of East Turkistan:

East Turkistan has been an independent nation at various points in history. The last time it was independent was from 1944 – 1949 when it was known as the East Turkistan Republic. Communist China invaded East Turkistan in late 1949 with the support of Stalin and the Soviet Union. It is a resource-rich region and has in recent years formed a key part of the new Chinese Belt and Road trade route. The Chinese Government has explicitly stated that one of their key National Defence aims it to prevent “the creation of East Turkistan”.[1]

For more information on the East Turkistan Government in Exile please visit: https://east-turkistan.net/

For more information on the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement please visit: https://nationalawakening.org/


[1] Ministry of National Defense, People’s Republic of China, ‘China’s Defensive National Defense Policy in the New Era’ (http://eng.mod.gov.cn/defense-policy/index.htm, undated) accessed 2 July 2020