A London-based law firm has filed an application with the British police seeking the arrest of India’s army chief and a senior Indian government official over their alleged roles in war crimes in Indian-Occupied Kashmir, reports TRT World.
Law firm Stoke White said on Tuesday it submitted extensive evidence to the Metropolitan Police’s War Crimes Unit documenting how Indian troops headed by General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Indian Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah were responsible for the torture, kidnapping, and killing of activists, journalists, and civilians.
The law firm’s report was based on over 2,000 testimonies taken between 2020 and 2021. It also accused eight unnamed senior Indian military officials of direct involvement in war crimes and torture in Occupied Kashmir.
“There is strong reason to believe that Indian authorities are conducting war crimes and other violence against civilians in [Indian-Occupied] Jammu and Kashmir,” the report stated.
Hakan Camuz, director of international law at Stoke White, said he hoped the report would convince the British police to open an investigation and ultimately arrest the officials when they set foot in the United Kingdom (UK). Some of the Indian officials have financial assets and other links to Britain.
“We are asking the UK government to do their duty and investigate and arrest them for what they did based on the evidence we supplied to them. We want them to be held accountable,” Camuz said.
The police application was made on behalf of the family of Zia Mustafa, a jailed rebel fighter whom Camuz said was the victim of an extrajudicial killing by Indian authorities in 2021, and on behalf of human rights campaigner Muhammad Ahsan Untoo, who was allegedly tortured before his arrest last week.
Human rights lawyers have increasingly used the universal jurisdiction principle to seek justice for people who were unable to file criminal complaints in their home countries or with the International Criminal Court, located in The Hague.
Last week, a German court convicted a former Syrian secret police officer of crimes against humanity for overseeing the abuse of thousands of detainees at a jail near Damascus a decade ago.
Camuz said he hoped the request to the British police seeking the arrest of Indian officials will be followed by other legal actions also focusing on Kashmir.
“We are sure this is not going to be the last one, there will probably be many more applications,” he said.
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