LONDON ( Associated Press) – A London-based law firm on Tuesday filed an application with British police seeking the arrest of India’s army chief and a senior Indian government official over their alleged role in war crimes in disputed Kashmir.
Law firm Stoke White said it has submitted extensive evidence to the Metropolitan Police’s war crimes unit of how the Indian Army, led by General Manoj Mukund Naravane and Home Affairs Minister Amit Shah, for the torture, kidnapping and murder of Indian Army workers, journalists and civilians. was responsible.
The law firm’s report was based on more than 2,000 pieces of evidence taken between 2020 and 2021. It accused eight unnamed senior Indian military officers of being directly involved in war crimes and torture in Kashmir.
“There is strong reason to believe that Indian authorities are committing war crimes and other violence against civilians in Jammu and Kashmir, which is part of the Himalayan region,” the report said.
The request to the London Police was made under the principle of “universal jurisdiction”, which gives countries the right to prosecute individuals accused of crimes against humanity committed anywhere in the world.
The international law firm in London said it believes its application is the first time that legal action has been taken abroad against Indian officials over alleged war crimes in Kashmir.
Hakan Kamuz, director of international law at Stoke White, said he hoped the report would convince British police to launch an investigation and eventually arrest officers when they step into the UK. Some Indian officials have financial assets and other links to Britain. Huh.
“We are asking the UK government to do their duty and investigate and arrest them, which we did based on the evidence we provided them. We want them to be held accountable,” Kamuz said.
The police application was made on behalf of the family of Zia Mustafa, a jailed terrorist whom Kamuz said was the victim of an extrajudicial killing by Indian authorities in 2021, and that of human rights campaigner Muhammad Ahsan Untu. From the side, who was allegedly tortured in front of him. arrest last week
Kashmir is divided between India and Pakistan, which both lay claim to the region. Muslims support Kashmiri insurgents who want to unite the region either under Pakistani rule or as an independent country. In India-controlled Kashmir, thousands of civilians, rebels and government forces have been killed over the past two decades.
Kashmiris and international rights groups have long accused Indian soldiers of systematically misbehaving and arresting those opposing the regime from New Delhi.
In 2018, the UN human rights chief called for an independent international investigation into reports of rights violations in Kashmir, alleging “chronic impunity for violations committed by security forces”.
The Indian government denies the alleged rights violations and claims such claims are separatist propaganda to demonstrate Indian troops in the area.
The law firm’s investigation suggested the abuse has worsened during the coronavirus pandemic.
Its report also included details about the arrest of the region’s most prominent rights activist Khurram Parvez by India’s counter-terrorism authorities last year.
Parvez, 42, worked for the Jammu and Kashmir Coalition of Civil Society, which has written extensive reports about the use of violence and torture by Indian soldiers.
Other accounts in the report refer to journalist Sajjad Gul, who was arrested earlier this month after posting a video of family members and relatives protesting the killing of a rebel commander.
Human rights lawyers increasingly use the universal jurisdiction principle to achieve justice for those who were unable to file a criminal complaint in their home countries or at 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 mistreatment of thousands of detainees at a prison near Damascus a decade ago.
Kamuz said he hoped that other legal actions would be taken on Kashmir after requests from British police to arrest Indian officials.
“We are sure that this will not be the last, there will probably be many more applications,” he said.