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August 6, 2020

Indian military occupation of J&K warrants ICC intervention: report

Islamabad

August 6, 2020

Islamabad : India’s siege of the occupied Jammu and Kashmir can be classified as a military occupation through unilateral annexation, which is a violation of the international law, says a legal fact-finding report.

"India has been perpetuating atrocities in J&K that come under crimes against humanity, crimes of aggression and war crimes, according to international laws. This necessitates setting up of an independent war crimes tribunal to investigate atrocities committed by the Indian occupying forces and intervention of the International Criminal Court to initiate proceedings against all perpetrators," said the report titled ‘Kashmir’s Statehood Abrogated’ co-published by Institute of Policy Studies (IPS) and Legal Forum for Oppressed Voices of Kashmir (LFOVK) and released on Tuesday.

The report provides in-depth information about the situation in J&K during the past one year since India abrogated Articles 370 and 35A of the Indian Constitution, revoked the region’s special status and annexed it illegally.

According to it, the Indian actions have made the situation even worse in the occupied Kashmir, which has been under lockdown since August 5, 2019.

The report says India fulfils the definition of occupation under Article 42 of The Hague Regulations 1907; stands in violation of the fundamental rights of civilians under The Hague Regulations and Geneva Convention IV Articles 47-48, Additional Protocol 1, Article 75; stands liable for committing the crime of aggression via unilateral annexation in contravention of Article 8 bis2(b) of the Rome Statute; and has violated all four Geneva Conventions. As such the siege goes well beyond just a blockade of the entry and exit points.

It asks the international community to fulfil its responsibility and seek an interim remedy under the UN Responsibility to Protect norm to stop further aggression of Indian forces.

"The human rights abuses perpetuated by India include curtailment of religious rights, constraints on economic development, curbs on freedom of communication via the internet and telephone lines, restrictions on journalists, denial of the right to education, banning freedom of movement, along with the imposition of curfews, infliction of torture and arbitrary detentions."

Also, the report said India stands in violation of International Humanitarian Law due to the use of lethal weapons, sexual violence against women, illegal change in the demographic structure by bringing in people from outside the region after changing the provisions for domicile, inadequate response to the COVID-19 pandemic and destruction of civilian property.

The report, while citing scholars, says India’s introduction of the new domicile laws during the COVID-19 pandemic has created implications of demographic change and delimitation that will redraw the parliamentary and assembly constituencies in favor of those regions more receptive to the Indian government such as Ladakh and Jammu, thus tilting the balance of power from the historically majority Muslim Kashmir state to Jammu.