PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release
East Turkistan Government in Exile
+1 (202) 599-2244, Ext: 1
10 June 2021
- Brand new evidence has been submitted to the ICC Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) establishing that the Court has jurisdiction to open an investigation into the crimes being committed against Uyghurs by Chinese authorities.
- The evidence supports the Complaint which was filed on July 6th 2020 alleging that Chinese authorities are rounding up and forcefully deporting Uyghurs from Tajikistan, an ICC State Party, into China Occupied East Turkistan.
- The evidence shows a marked increase in deportations from 2016-2018 with an over 85% reduction of Uyghurs living in Tajikistan.
- There is also evidence of a newly constructed triple barbed wire Chinese border fence well within Tajik territory.
- The evidence also shows a newly constructed Chinese military base inside Tajikistan.
- The evidence has been submitted following the OTP’s announcement that more evidence was needed to establish that the Court has jurisdiction to open an investigation, given that China is not an ICC State Party.
- The evidence was submitted by a team of lawyers led by Rodney Dixon QC on behalf of The East Turkistan Government in Exile, the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement, and Uyghur and other Turkic victims.
THE HAGUE: 10 June 2021 – This morning, lawyers acting on behalf of The East Turkistan Government in Exile, the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement and Uyghur victims, have submitted a new dossier of evidence to the International Criminal Court (ICC) Office of the Prosecutor (OTP) establishing that there is jurisdiction to open an investigation into the the Genocide and Crimes against Humanity committed against Uyghur and other Turkic peoples by Chinese authorities.
The evidence has been submitted following the release of the OTP’s annual report in December 2020, indicating that more evidence to establish jurisdiction was required. This followed the submission of an Article 15 Complaint on July 6th 2020 requesting that an investigation be opened. It is the first time that evidence of this kind has been gathered and submitted to the ICC.
The evidence shows that Uyghurs have been targeted, rounded up, deported and disappeared from Tajikistan back into occupied East Turkistan (so-called “Xinjiang”) by Chinese operatives. It demonstrates that Chinese authorities have directly intervened in Tajikistan. The ICC therefore has jurisdiction over these actions which start in Tajikistan and continue into China Occupied East Turkistan. The OTP is requested to open an ICC investigation without delay.
The evidence gathered to date shows that over the past 10-15 years the number of Uyghurs living in Tajikistan has been reduced from an estimated 3000 to approximately 100. This reduction in the numbers of Uyghurs in Tajikistan largely occurred from 2016 to 2018. This constitutes, an 85- 90% reduction of the Uyghur population in Tajikistan over this time.
It has been discovered that two main methods are used to bring Uyghurs back into Chinese Occupied East Turkistan. The first is through the exploitation of family ties, with Uyghurs receiving increasingly urgent phone calls from family members in China saying that they must return. In some cases they were threatened that the family will be arrested if they do not return.
The second method used to bring Uyghurs back into China Occupied East Turkistan is through Chinese operatives working directly in Tajikistan. The Chinese Consulate fully controls all Uyghurs’ paperwork in Tajikistan. They purposely delay the granting of visas, work permits etc. and then members of the Chinese Public Security Bureau who are present in Tajikistan direct local Tajik police to carry out raids on the areas where Uyghurs live and work.
Those without the ‘correct paperwork’ are then deported back into China by Chinese authorities in small groups of up to 10 to avoid international attention. The remaining Uyghurs are completely controlled by the Consulate and have to participate in weekly meetings with informers who report back to the Consulate.
The evidence also shows that the China-Tajik border is heavily controlled by Chinese authorities. There is a newly constructed Chinese border fence made up of three layers of barbed wire in the area of the Kulma pass, which is the main entry point into – and out of – China Occupied East Turkistan. It has cameras, Chinese flags and patrols along it. This fence is well within Tajik territory. There is also evidence of a newly-built Chinese military base around the Rangkul area of Tajikistan in addition to the already existing base in Badakhshan.
Mr. Dixon and his team have submitted that the new evidence shows that Chinese authorities have committed unlawful acts including arrests, enforced disappearances, abductions and deportations in Tajikistan, an ICC State Party. This alone gives the Court jurisdiction. In addition, these actions form the first step of a continuum of alleged criminal conduct amounting to genocide and crimes against humanity which continue within occupied East Turkistan/Xinjiang. Where there is such continuity between the first element of the crime of genocide and crimes against humanity, and what happens upon return to China Occupied East Turkistan, the Court can exercise jurisdiction over the whole of the crime because part of the criminal conduct occurred in an ICC State Party.
The investigation is on-going and more evidence will be presented in the coming months.
Speaking after the new evidence was submitted, Rodney Dixon QC said, “Based on this new dossier of evidence presented to the ICC Prosecutor, showing the actions of Chinese authorities directly in Tajikistan – an ICC State Party – it is clear that the ICC does have jurisdiction to open an investigation. The evidence shows a highly organized and systematic plan by the Chinese authorities to round up Uyghurs living in an ICC State Party and deport them back into China where they are never heard from again.”
“We urge the ICC Prosecutor to act swiftly as the situation is deteriorating daily. Uyghur people have suffered unspeakable crimes for too long. We must use all available legal mechanisms to achieve justice and accountability for them,” Mr. Dixon added.
“Although it is very depressing to see this new evidence, especially the terrifying extent to which Chinese authorities are acting even outside East Turkistan, I feel a sense of hope that the ICC will open an investigation,” said Prime Minister Salih Hudayar of the East Turkistan Government in Exile.
“This will be the first step for ending the atrocities East Turkistan’s people have gone through including many of my own family members. Much more needs to be done to end the genocide of Uyghurs and we have great hope that the ICC will agree that they do have jurisdiction and the ability to investigate and prosecute these crimes. It is now more critical than ever, given that numerous governments and parliaments have already recognized this ongoing genocide,” Prime Minister Hudayar added.