June 20, 2022
FILE - An exterior view of the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, Wednesday, March 31, 2021. Lawyers on Monday, June 20, 2022 renewed calls for the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into China's treatment of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim groups in China's Xinjiang region as they presented a dossier of evidence to prosecutors. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Lawyers on Monday renewed calls for the International Criminal Court to open an investigation into China’s treatment of Uyghurs and other predominantly Muslim groups in China’s Xinjiang region as they presented a dossier of evidence to prosecutors.
Activists and lawyers accuse Beijing of crimes against humanity and genocide against the groups. China’s ruling Communist Party has vehemently denied all reports of human rights violations and genocide in Xinjiang.
Monday’s filing is the latest attempt to have the global court open an investigation into widespread allegations of abuse against Uyghurs by Chinese authorities.
The group that submitted the evidence said it includes testimony from a witness who escaped from a camp in 2018 and alleges that he and others were tortured and forced to undergo medical procedures including “being injected with unknown substances.”
The latest dossier also seeks to support their assertion that ICC prosecutors have jurisdiction despite China not being a member of the court by arguing that Uyghurs and others are being rounded up on the territory of an ICC member state and transferred to China.
That assertion seeks to use a precedent set when the court’s judges ruled that the ICC has jurisdiction to investigate abuses against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, despite Myanmar not being a member of the court, because thousands of Rohingyas were force to flee to Bangladesh, which is an ICC member.
British lawyer Rodney Dixon said evidence presented to the court’s prosecutor’s office uncovers “a pervasive plan to round up Uyghurs in neighboring countries, including an ICC member State, and elsewhere, to force them back into China.”
“The ICC has jurisdiction over these crimes that commence on ICC territory and continue into China, and is urged to act immediately to open an investigation,” the group filing the dossier Monday said in a statement.
The filing comes a year after lawyers called on the ICC to open an investigation.