Groups and Campaigns

Uyghur groups submit universal jurisdiction complaint to Argentinian Courts about Uyghur Genocide


Image: Unsplash / Pixabay

 

 

By Anne Kader

 

 

On 17 August 2022, legal advocates presenting the Uyghur Human Rights Project (UHRP) and the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) submitted a criminal complaint in Buenos Aires, Argentina, under the universal jurisdiction provisions set out in the Argentinian Constitution, UHRP reports on its website.

 

The complaint covers the crimes committed against the Uyghur and other Turkic people in the Uyghurs' occupied homeland. Under the Argentinian universal jurisdiction provisions, the domestic courts have the authority to prosecute international crimes such as genocide, crimes against humanity, and torture wherever they occur.

 

The submission of this complaint marks the first stage of the process: the prosecutorial stage, when the judge considers the complaint and decides whether to open a case: Once opened, an investigation starts. WUC and UHRP will then provide further evidence about the Uyghur genocide.

 

From such evidence before the court, the court can indict the defendants, issue arrest warrants, and send the case to trial.

 

The case can also be against the individuals most responsible for the Uyghur genocide, and the judge can summon witnesses to attend court to give their evidence on oath. 

 

Adv. Michael Polak, the barrister presenting the Uyghur groups, said: "This is a historical moment for the Uyghur people and their pursuit of justice for the most horrendous international crimes committed against them by the Chinese authorities." 

 

"Domestic courts, such as the Argentinian ones, have filled the void created by the vetoes of China and Russia at the UN Security Council. The creation of new international tribunals has become close to impossible", Adv. Polak says.

 

Omer Kanat from the Uyghur Human Rights project commented on the submission of the complaint:

 

"It would be a historical moment if the court opened an investigation in Argentina. It would be the first time a judge investigated the international crimes against the Uyghur people. It could also result in Uyghur victims being called to give their evidence on oath. After the investigation, the judge could decide to issue arrest warrants for those responsible".

 

"The UHRP will leave no stone unturned to fight for justice for the Uyghur people, and this is why we have joined with the World Uyghur Congress in this pursuit of justice", Mr. Kanat concluded.

 

The proceedings in Argentina, including bringing witnesses to give evidence, will be funded using CrowdJustice https://www.crowdjustice.com/case/uyghur-case-argentina/