Translator: Ermat 【㊙️G-Translators/Authentic Writing Team】
Proofreader: Voice of Heart
The big news today: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Tuesday (Jan. 19) that the Chinese Communist Party’s policy of persecuting Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region commits “crimes against humanity” and “genocide.” These terms, previously used for organizations such as the Nazis, were first used by the U.S. government against the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and its totalitarian regime. So what are “crimes against humanity” and how are they adjudicated and enforced? I have searched through the relevant information and briefly analyzed the following.
Definition of Crimes Against Humanity
The first official use of “crimes against humanity” in a legal sense can be traced back to the legal trials of German and Japanese war criminals after the Second World War. After the end of World War II, the United Nations wanted to establish a permanent and neutral court to deal with the crime of genocide in the International Court of Justice, but this idea eventually fell by the wayside due to the rapidly developing Cold War situation. However, the harsh reality could not stop the search for justice. With the support of several experts in international law and heads of state, the United Nations finally adopted the Statute of the International Criminal Court (Rome Statute) at a conference held in Rome in 1998 by 120 votes in favor, 7 against, and 21 abstentions. It came into force in 2002. The International Criminal Court (ICC) was established in The Hague, the Netherlands, on this basis.
Under the Statute, the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutes and tries individuals for the four international crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes, and crimes of aggression. The Statute defines “crimes against humanity” as “those facts that constitute a multitude of acts directed against human dignity and its grave violations and abuses. These are generally not isolated or incidental events. Either they are motivated by government policy or they are committed as a series of government-permitted atrocities.” Simply put, these are acts such as murder, torture, rape, political, racial or religious persecution, and other inhumane acts committed against a population.
Enforcement of “Crimes Against Humanity”
Let’s start with the following clarification: In terms of jurisdictional matters, the Rome Statute defines four categories of crimes that the ICC can and only can govern: genocide, crimes against humanity (crimes against humanity), war crimes, and crimes of aggression (since “aggression” cannot be defined at this time, the ICC can actually only govern the first three categories of crimes). At the same time, according to the principle of non-retroactivity, the ICC can only govern crimes that occurred after the passing of the Statute. In addition, Article 25 of the Statute specifies that the ICC will only trial individuals, not states. Therefore, the “crimes against humanity” that we usually see enforced by the ICC are usually committed by heads of state who have committed “crimes against humanity”.
Because of the specificity of the target, the ICC has certain regulations in its investigation and enforcement of “crimes against humanity. The details are as follows.
Since its establishment, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has intervened in seven cases (currently four investigations and three pre-trials). Twice it has issued warrants for the arrest of sitting heads of state (the ICC has issued a warrant for the arrest of President Bashir of Sudan). The ICC handles the above four categories of crimes in the same way as the familiar domestic judicial process. The prosecutor files a petition, the court reviews it and then issues a warrant for the suspect’s arrest and trial. However, due to some imperfections in the system, there are still some problems after the arrest warrant is issued.
Given the specificity of the crime and the subject of execution, once the ICC has issued a warrant for the arrest of a perpetrator, there are many variations in the details of execution. There is no uniformity. A case most similar to the current case of the Chinese Communist Party is that of former Libyan leader Gaddafi.
In June 2011, the ICC declared Gaddafi guilty of “crimes against humanity” in the Libyan civil war. The ICC requested that the Libyan government hand over the man for trial. Gaddafi has not been extradited for trial, nor has he been summoned by the Libyan Supreme Court. But Gaddafi was convicted once the charges were announced. So in the sense of international law, the day the charges are announced he is no longer the supreme leader of Libya, but a criminal: he can be ordered the arrest by any country.
The process of sanctions imposed on Gaddafi by the ICC
Under the Rome Statute, the UN Security Council voted unanimously to adopt Resolution 1970 (2011/2/26) against Muammar Gaddafi. This Resolution clarified the legal jurisdiction that the International Criminal Court (ICC) applied to Libya, and then the ICC imposed sanctions on Gaddafi under Resolution 1970 in four areas.
Firstly, an arms embargo was imposed on Libya; Secondly, Gaddafi and his family and 16 close associates were banned from traveling abroad; Thirdly, the overseas assets of those involved were frozen; Fourthly, the Libyan authorities’ actions in suppressing civilians were referred to the International Criminal Court in The Hague for alleged “crimes against humanity.”
In summary, the U.S. government will then submit the names of those involved in the “crimes against humanity” committed by China in Xinjiang to the International Criminal Court. The ICC will conduct the corresponding judicial investigation and trial process. Once the ICC declares a conviction, an arrest warrant will be issued. Any government may have the authority to prosecute and arrest a listed person. Anyone on the list becomes a criminal in law, is no longer a government official, and no longer has diplomatic immunity. The deeper meaning of this event is that the CCP’s organizational structure will be rapidly dismantled with the arrival of the ICC trial. Once the most wanted list of the CCP is made public by the ICC, the moment of CCP’s demise will be imminent.
(The article merely represents the author’s opinion)