Yogi Adityanath faces Criminal complaint in Switzerland ahead of WEF visit

Guernica 37 Chambers on 17 January filed a criminal report with the Office of the Swiss Federal Prosecutor against the Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh Yogi Adityanath who is planning to attend the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this week.

Guernica 37 is a specialised Barristers’ Chamber that brings together Barristers and international attorneys with expertise in international law.

The law firm in London filed 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 for crimes against humanity committed between December 2019 and January 2020 in the state.

“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,” the press readout claims.

“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.”

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.

The violence took place in Multiple cities across the state with an Internet shutdown on 20 December 2019. 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.

The group said that 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,” the statement added.