The International Criminal Court (ICC) on Monday declined to open an investigation into allegations of genocide against Uyghur Muslims in China, but left the file open.
Why it matters: This means that more evidence could be submitted about claims of genocide by Chinese authorities against Uyghur Muslims and other ethnic minorities in Xinjiang, northwest China, and the ICC could still open an investigation.
Driving the news: The office of the ICC’s prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, said in a report that the “condition for the exercise of the court’s territorial jurisdiction did not appear to be met” as the evidence related to alleged crimes and suspects in China. , which is not a signatory to the global court.
- But Rodney Dixon, the lead attorney in the case against China, told The Guardian that he is “hopeful that the ICC will take up this investigation.”
- “We will provide very relevant evidence that will make this possible in the coming months,” Dixon added.
Of interest: In 2019, the ICC approved an investigation into crimes against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar and Bangladesh.
- Myanmar is not a member of the ICC. However, the court in The Hague said it had the power to open an investigation as some crimes allegedly took place in Bangladesh, which ratified the ICC Rome statute in 2010.
The big picture: Chinese officials have detained up to 2 million Uyghurs in “re-education camps” since 2017. They deny any abuse and claim they are being used to eradicate extremism. But evidence has emerged supporting allegations of torture, forced sterilization and other abuse.
- Globally, China is increasingly condemned for its treatment of Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities. At the United Nations in October, 39 countries, including the US, condemned Beijing for human rights violations in Xinjiang.
In the U.S, The Trump administration has imposed measures including sanctioning Chinese Communist Party officials, while President-elect Biden has called the repression “ genocide. ”
Read the ICC report via DocumentCloud:
Go deeper: The Chinese ambassador is struggling to explain Xinjiang images of blindfolded prisoners