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Mass Internment of Uyghurs in Xinjiang Is Genocide: Independent UK Court

Victor Westerkamp
Victor resides in the Netherlands and writes about freedom and governmental and social changes to the democratic form of nations.
Published: December 14, 2021
Chair of the panel Geoffrey Nice gives the opening address on the first day of hearings at the "Uyghur Tribunal,” a committee of UK-based lawyers and rights experts investigating alleged abuses against Uyghurs in China, in London on June 4, 2021. (Image: TOLGA AKMEN/AFP/Getty Images)

The Uyghur Tribunal, run by a prestigious independent court in the UK, has ruled that atrocities against the Uyghur ethnic group and other Muslim minorities in Xinjiang by China’s communist regime constitute genocide, albeit without hard evidence the minorities are being directly murdered. 

The tribunal was held in two hearings in June and September and was chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice, a prominent British lawyer. He led the Serbian war criminal Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia in The Hague, the Netherlands.

Even though the court could not find any hard “evidence of mass killings” of the Uyghur population, it did find proof of forced sterilization and birth-control measures and policies that attempted to erase Uyghur culture. These alone have provided sufficient grounds in equating Beijing’s way of handling its Muslim minorities with genocide.

Nice said on Thursday, Dec. 9, that he and the panel had arrived at the conclusion that China had carried out “a deliberate, systematic and concerted policy” to bring about “long-term reduction of Uyghur and other ethnic minority populations.”

Other atrocities against the Uyghur population

The panel also found evidence of crimes against humanity, torture, and sexual violence against the Xinjiang people.

Nice also contended that senior officials bore “primary responsibility” for the abuses against Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in the region.

On Thursday, a People’s Republic of China (PRC) spokesman told the BBC the court was just a “pseudo tribunal.” Furthermore, he said it was a “political tool used by a few anti-China elements to deceive and mislead the public.”

READ MORE: Thousands of Uyghurs Transferred to Nanjing From Xinjiang by Chinese Firm

Voices of support

The court’s committee consisted of counselors and scholars, and its conclusions have no lawful power and are not compulsory on lawmakers. Still, its initiators articulated that from the beginning, they planned to add to the body of proof around the accusations against Beijing and come to an autonomous finding on the matter of genocide.

“The British government said the evidence needed to be assessed by a competent court, well it doesn’t get more competent than this,” Sir Iain Duncan Smith, former Conservative Party leader and co-chair of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, fulminated.

British-Conservative-Party-Nusrat-Ghani-Iain-DuncanSmith-Uyghur-protest-parliament-recognize-persecution-genocide-crimes-against-humanity-London-getty-images- 1232459432
British Conservative Party MPs Nusrat Ghani (C) and Iain Duncan Smith (R) join members of the Uyghur community as they call on parliament to vote to recognize persecution of Uyghurs as genocide and crimes against humanity in London on April 22, 2021. (Image: JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

“This tribunal was set up to the highest legal standards, and the evidence that that was put forward today shows that there is enough proof beyond reasonable doubt that there was an intent to commit genocide,” Conservative MP Nusrat Ghani said according to the broadcaster, calling the judgment “groundbreaking.”

READ MORE: Thousands of Uyghurs Transferred to Nanjing From Xinjiang by Chinese Firm

One of the testifiers, Uyghur linguist Abduweli Ayup, related the vexation he and his family had to undergo and the ensuing 15-month imprisonment sentence imposed on him for “inciting terrorism” said the ruling was “very encouraging.”

“I was sentenced by the Chinese government,” Ayup said. “Now, I hope after this ruling, someone can sentence them. Many Uyghurs have been sent to prison only for being Uyghur. Now it is time their oppressors are also sentenced.” 

“Now there is no excuse for the international community to continue its silence on the Uyghur genocide,” Dolkun Isa, president of the World Uyghur Congress, who initiated the tribunal, said. “It is the legal obligation of all countries who signed the 1948 genocide convention to take legal action.”

In 2019, Nice c.s. under the banner of the China Tribunal came to similar findings regarding the onslaught of China’s largest persecuted spiritual group, Falun Gong. The court found irrefutable proof of millions of Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted and of grand-scale live organ harvesting on its adherents by state-run medical institutions.

In his final word to the conference on Thursday, Nice said the need for this tribunal came because no other international judicial bodies were willing to take up the gauntlet for the Uyghurs.

According to the International Criminal Court, China is outside its jurisdiction since China is not a member. At the same time, the International Court of Justice only takes cases sanctified by the UN Security Council, which is entirely lame because China holds its veto power.

“Had any other body, domestic or international, determined or sought to determine these issues, the tribunal would have been unnecessary,” Nice said.