ICC requests more evidence on Uighur genocide claims ahead of investigation decision
The International Criminal Court (ICC) has requested more evidence for allegations of genocide against China's Uighur Muslim minority, ahead of a decision on whether it will open a full-scale investigation.
Lawyers have been briefed that the ICC will decide there is still not enough evidence for a full-scale investigation, the Guardian reported on Friday. The court says it will keep the file open for further evidence to be submitted, according to the London-based newspaper.
Lawyers representing East Turkistan's Government in Exile and the East Turkistan National Awakening Movement filed the ICC complaint in July. The genocide claim filed against China alleges that a large scale and systematic persecution of the Uighur people is taking place, including through imprisonment, torture and forced birth control.
China is not a signatory to the ICC, however the genocide claim relates to the alleged forcing of Uighurs to China from Cambodia and Uzbekistan. Both states
are signatories ot the Rome statute which established the ICC.
The court may also exercise jurisdiction over international crimes that took place in a country that is an ICC signatory. This precedent was set with two cases in 2018 and 2019 concerning crimes against against Myanmar's Rohingya Muslim minority. Although Myanmar is not an ICC signatory, the cases involved alleged crimes committed in Bangladesh.
Lawyers for the Uighur groups say they are already in the process of submitting evidence to the ICC, however have been delayed by travel restrictions caused by the coronvirus pandemic.
China has detained an estimated one million Uighurs and other mostly Muslim Turkic-speaking minorities in "re-education" camps in the tightly-controlled region of Xinjiang in the country's northwest.
Muslims in Xinjiang are barred from fasting during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan and have allegedly forced to drink alcohol and eat pork - both forbidden in Islam - in internment camps.
Rights groups and former inmates see the measures as part of a campaign to forcefully assimilate Uighurs and other minorities into the country's majority ethnic Han society, diluting their unique cultures and religious beliefs.
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