Independent UK Tribunal to Probe Uyghur Genocide Claims

September 3, 2020 Updated: September 3, 2020

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, a prominent British human rights lawyer who chaired the China Tribunal on forced organ harvesting, is convening another independent tribunal in London to investigate whether the Chinese regime’s alleged human rights abuses against Uyghur Muslims constitute genocide or crimes against humanity.

Nice, who previously led the prosecution of former Yugoslavian President Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal, was asked by the World Uyghur Congress, an international organization representing Uyghur exiles, to investigate allegations of Beijing’s oppression of Uyghurs and ethnic Turkic minorities in China’s northwestern region of Xinjiang.

uyghur police in xinjiang
Uyghur security personnel patrol near the Id Kah Mosque in Kashgar in western China’s Xinjiang region, on Dec. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

The tribunal organizers expect to hold two public hearings in London next year, each lasting several days. A verdict is expected by the end of 2021.

An earlier independent tribunal chaired by Nice, the Independent Tribunal Into Forced Organ Harvesting of Prisoners of Conscience in China, known as the China Tribunal, found last year that it was “beyond doubt” that state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting for profit has been taking place in China for years and “on a significant scale.”

The China Tribunal found that these organs are principally sourced from imprisoned prisoners of conscience—the majority of whom are Falun Gong practitioners.

Epoch Times Photo
Legal counsel to the China Tribunal Hamid Sabi (L) and chair to the tribunal Sir Geoffrey Nice QC on the first day of public hearings in London on Dec. 8, 2018. (Justin Palmer)

Torture and Enforced Sterilization

“At the moment, the strongest evidence would appear to be evidence of incarceration and possibly evidence of enforced sterilization,” Nice told The Associated Press regarding the alleged treatment of Uyghurs by the Chinese regime.

According to figures cited by the U.S. Congressional-Executive Commission on China and the United Nations, as many as 1 million Uyghurs and other ethnic minorities are believed to be detained in Chinese reeducation facilities.

Former Uyghur detainees previously told The Epoch Times that they were subjected to torture, forced to denounce their faith, and forced to pledge loyalty to the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) while held for unknown reasons in often overcrowded facilities.

Epoch Times Photo
This photo taken on May 31, 2019, shows a Uyghur woman (C) going through an entrance to a bazaar in Hotan, in China’s northwest Xinjiang region. (Greg Baker/AFP via Getty Images)

Uyghur women, meanwhile, have been subjected to forced sterilization, forced abortion, and coercive family planning, a recent report revealed.

Such enforced sterilization practices could be found to breach the Genocide Convention, Nice said.

The United States has already imposed sanctions on four Chinese officials involved in human rights abuses against Uyghurs, including the Xinjiang region’s Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, who is a member of the CCP’s powerful Politburo.

The China Tribunal

Sir Geoffrey Nice is an established authority on international human rights cases. The China Tribunal he chaired conducted the world’s first independent legal analysis of evidence regarding forced organ harvesting in China.

Members of an international panel reviewed written and oral evidence, including testimony from over 50 witnesses given over two public hearings in December 2018 and April 2019.

The tribunal panel
The tribunal panel (L–R) of U.S. history professor Arthur Waldron, Malaysian lawyer Andrew Khoo, professor of cardiothoracic surgery Martin Elliott, tribunal chair Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, businessman Nicholas Vetch, Iranian human rights lawyer Shadi Sadr, and U.S. lawyer Regina Paulose, in London, on Dec. 8, 2018. (Justin Palmer)

Last June, the tribunal delivered its findings in London, concluding beyond a reasonable doubt that state-sanctioned forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience had taken place for years in China “on a significant scale,” and is still taking place today.

The main organ supply came from imprisoned practitioners of the persecuted spiritual group Falun Gong, according to the tribunal. Uyghur Muslims were also at “risk” of being subjected to forced organ harvesting while detained.

The tribunal concluded that the Chinese regime’s sustained campaign of forced organ harvesting constituted crimes against humanity.

Epoch Times Photo
Falun Gong supporters protest against the importing of human organs from China to Austria in Vienna, Austria, on Oct. 1, 2018. (Joe Klamar/AFP via Getty Images)

“The conclusion shows that very many people have died indescribably hideous deaths for no reason, that more may suffer in similar ways, and that all of us live on a planet where extreme wickedness may be found,” the tribunal stated in its final 160-page report (pdf), which included 300 pages of supplementary materials.

Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa, which consists of meditative exercises and moral teachings centered around the tenets of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance, has been subject to a brutal persecution by the Chinese communist regime for more than two decades. Hundreds of thousands of adherents have been thrown into prisons, labor camps, and brainwashing centers, where many have been tortured in an effort to force them to renounce their faith, according to the Falun Dafa Information Center.

Cathy He, Frank Fang, Isabel van Brugen, and The Associated Press contributed to this report.