LONDON, 17 January 2023 – Guernica 37 Chambers filed a criminal report with the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor against Chief Minister of the State Government of Uttar Pradesh (UP) India, -- attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, between 16 and 20 January 2022,-- for crimes against humanity committed between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh.
Guernica 37 Chambers in London filed this morning a criminal complaint under the principle of universal jurisdiction as provided in Article 264 of the Swiss Criminal Code before the General Prosecutor in Switzerland against the Chief Minister and Home Minister of UP, Yogi Adityanath who is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland in January 2023.
Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath is reported to have ordered the false imprisonment, torture and murder of civilians between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state of Uttar Pradesh to suppress protests against the adoption of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in India. As set out in the criminal report, these acts may amount to crimes against humanity as they are alleged to have been committed as part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilians, mostly the Muslim population in the country.
There is a sufficient basis to believe that senior members of the UP State Government, including Chief Minister Adityanath, are responsible for ordering the UP police under their command. The Chief Minister’s role in the escalation of police violence is particularly apparent in a speech given on 19 December 2019 calling on the police to take “revenge” against protesters. Despite being an Indian State official, the Chief Minister does not enjoy diplomatic immunity for these crimes.
Following the adoption of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act in December 2019, which embodies a wider pattern of discrimination against Muslims in India, many members of the Muslim community across the country took to the streets to peacefully protest the law. Members of the UP police violently separated the protesters in order to break up their protest and punish them for their opposition to the new law. In the course of this crackdown which lasted six months, the UP police reportedly killed 22 protestors, at least 117 were tortured and 307 were arbitrarily detained. The criminal complaint argues that as the Chief Minister and Home Minister, Yogi Adityanath as the final executive authority in the state of UP over police conduct also failed to investigate and prosecute the alleged crimes.
Domestic avenues to address these crimes have remained unsuccessful alongside international avenues as India has not acceded to the individual complaints mechanisms of the United Nations (UN) human rights treaties nor has it ratified the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. The UP authorities have so far ignored calls by victims’ families, human rights groups, domestic courts and the UN mandate holders to investigate and prosecute these violations. The escalation of violence and impunity requires urgent actions to hold the perpetrators accountable.
The opening of an investigation by the Swiss authorities will serve as official recognition and acknowledgement of the gravity of the alleged crimes and recognition of the status of the victims, that they have thus far failed to receive at the domestic or international levels, and it will further serve as evidence that the culture of impunity will not be tolerated.
GUERNICA 37 CHAMBERS
Six Pump Court, First Floor West
Temple, London EC4Y 7AR
T+44 20 3597 7130