Although it’s not an official court, it can still have an impact, according to Kamerling. The court says: “The court makes a clear appeal to the British government: it must act in accordance with the UN Genocide Treaty, thereby preventing genocide in other member states. So the government must also allow lawyers to consider the evidence.”
According to Kamerling, the fact that it is difficult to formally indict the Chinese government underscores the importance of this court. “There are more and more authoritarian regimes that undermine the rule of law, and they are powerful enough to avoid official prosecution. In this context, it is good that society picks up on this if governments fail to do so. This is how it is being looked after.”
The question is what effect this ruling has on international relations. Human rights abuses in Xinjiang have caused tensions between many Western countries and China for some time. It was cited by the United States, Canada, Australia and the United Kingdom as the reason for the diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics.
According to Kamerling, the ruling is likely to cool diplomatic relations between China and Great Britain, since the court convened in London. “It is also remarkable that Xi Jinping and other senior officials have been named and held accountable. The question is how do you respond to that,” he added.
NOS op 3 previously made this explainer video about the situation around Uyghurs: