Saturday, February 27, 2021

ICC can’t prosecute China over Uighur ‘re-education camps’

International Criminal Court prosecutors cannot act because the alleged crimes took place in China, which has not signed up to the court.

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The International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague has rejected calls by exiled Uighurs to investigate China for alleged genocide and crimes against humanity, the chief prosecutor’s office said in a report issued on Monday.

Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda said the court was unable to act because the alleged acts happened in China, which is not a signatory to the Netherlands-based ICC.

This comes as a blow to the Muslim-minority group in Xinjiang, whose representatives had handed a dossier of evidence to the court in July accusing China of locking up more than one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim minorities and of forcibly sterilising minority women.

In its report, Bensouda’s office said the majority of the crimes alleged did not fall within its territorial jurisdiction.

There was also “no basis to proceed at this time” on separate claims of forced deportations of Uighurs from Tajikistan and Cambodia back to China.

The Uighurs had argued that even though the alleged deportations did not happen on Chinese soil, the ICC could act because they happened on Tajik and Cambodian territory, and both of them are ICC members.

China has called all the accusations baseless and says the facilities in the northwestern Xinjiang region are job training centres aimed at steering people away from terrorism.

The ICC was set up in 2002 to achieve justice for the world’s worst crimes.

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