Uyghur Tribunal Chair: Genocide Label 'Critical' for Spurring Action

Uyghur Tribunal Chair: Genocide Label 'Critical' for Spurring Action - Sir Geoffrey Nice said no country has ever acted to stop a genocide since the U.N. treaty was created to prevent the crime after the holocaust.

Uyghur Tribunal Chair: Genocide Label 'Critical' for Spurring Action

Uyghur Tribunal Chair: Genocide Label 'Critical' for Spurring Action

The chair of independent tribunals that found the Chinese regime guilty of sanctioning large-scale forced organ harvesting and genocide said the label "genocide" is "crucial" because it's connected to the requirement for countries to help prevent and stop the atrocities.

While legislatures including the UK's House of Commons have declared the Chinese regime has committed genocide in China's Xinjiang region, all but one government have stayed away from the label.

Sir Geoffrey Nice, KC, who led the prosecution of former Serbian President Slobodan Milošević and chaired the China Tribunal and the Uyghur Tribunal, said Article One of the U.N. treaty on genocide means once governments recognise that a genocide has been happening, "they are obliged to act immediately to do something about it."

Speaking to NTD's "British Thought Leaders" (BTL) programme  in London, Sir Geoffrey said he has moved from thinking the label "genocide" is "a bit of a nuisance" that complicates a trial to being much more convinced "it's critical that we focus on it."

In December 2021, the Uyghur Tribunal, an independent people's tribunal, ruled that the Chinese communist regime had committed torture, crimes against humanity, and genocide against the Uyghurs in Xinjiang.

Before and after the ruling, a number of legislatures around the world, including in the UK, the European Union, Canada, the US, and the Czech Republic, have passed non-binding motions to declare there had been genocide or risks of genocide in Xinjiang. But Washington remains the only government that formally attached the label since January 2021.

The UK government has so far resisted the pressure to use the word, citing successive governments’ policies that only a “competent court” can make such designations, despite the lack of such court.

The International Court of Justice, which deals with state-sponsored genocide, is toothless about allegations against the Chinese regime as its rulings won't be enforced by the U.N. Security Council because of China's veto power.

The other potentially competent court, the International Criminal Court, which was set up to try individuals for the gravest crimes such as genocide or war crimes, can only deal with nationals of a Rome Statute signatory, which China is not.

Tribunal: UK Government Eschew 'Genocide' Label to Avoid Action

In the Uyghur Tribunal judgement (pdf), the UK was singled out as an example of how politicians create obstacles that prevent anything from being done.

"A UK government determination that genocide has occurred—or is occurring or likely to occur—would trigger immediate UK action to protect the victims of genocide," the UK-based tribunal wrote.

"The UK’s self-imposed ‘practice’ of requiring a court to determine whether genocide has occurred before it does anything responsive to a genocide is used to justify doing nothing, despite it being known that there is no court or judge with jurisdiction to do the job!" the judgement reads.

"The UK government could readily decide for itself that genocide was happening or likely to happen and act accordingly. It always decides not to because of the ‘practice’ notionally to allocate the critical factual issue to a hypothetical judge it knows not to exist."

The U.N. Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (pdf) defines the crime of committing at least one of five acts with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial, or religious group.

The acts listed in the treaty are: killing members of a group, causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of a group, deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part, imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group, and forcibly transferring children of the group to another group.

The Uyghur Tribunal found that the Chinese regime committed genocide by imposing measures to prevent birth.

Evidence submitted to the tribunal said Uyghur women had been subjected to measures including forced abortion, sterilisation, and marriage to men from the majority ethnic group in China, Han.

Sir Geoffrey told BTL while the "conservative" and "cautious" judgment was made under "the strictest conditions" for finding of facts, and it may well lead to others to build on the work and find the Chinese regime committed genocide against the Uyghurs on other grounds.

Sir Geoffrey work in the Uyghur Tribunal came after he chaired the China Tribunal, which found that the Chinese regime committed torture and crimes against humanity in the state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience, mainly Falun Gong adherents, on a significant scale.
The tribunal said members had "no doubt whatsoever" that physical acts had been carried out that are indicative of the crime of genocide, including three of the five actions listed in the Genocide Convention, but stopped short of ruling that genocide had happened because they couldn't separate the regime's stated intention to destroy the group and the apparent intention to reap huge profit from selling the organs.

No Country 'Ever' Acted Over Genocide

Sir Geoffrey said he now believes it's "extremely important" to find out if genocide has been happening because the Genocide Convention was drafted by people who lived through two world wars who "knew what humans could do to humans," with concerns "for the future."

"Their concern was to stop one bit of humanity [from] destroying another bit of humanity by ways that they clearly thought were the most rightly needing of the tag of a crime," he told BTL.

Under the treaty, if governments find genocide,"they are obliged to act immediately to do something about it," he said.

"And guess what? Since the convention was ratified ... has any country ever said we are doing this because of our duty under Article One of the convention? None ever because it is politically unappealing in the extreme for countries to be driven by this duty to act in a way.

As a result, "we don't even know what countries are supposed to do" if they find genocide committed by the whole or parts of the Chinese regime against the Uyghurs, he said.

"And the concept of humanity being single is something that should appeal to probably all religions, all religions, but also to people with no religion. Humanity can change, bits of humanity can disappear, they can merge by natural processes. But what you must not allow, you could argue, is ever for part of single humanity to bite off and destroy another part. And that's why genocide so important," he said.