NEW YORK -- In a landmark decision, an Argentine judge indicted and ordered the local Interpol department to seek the arrest of two high-ranking Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials on Thursday for their role in crimes against humanity committed against Falun Gong practitioners. The ruling follows a similar decision in Spain last month, when the Spanish National Court indicted five top CCP leaders for their involvement in genocide and torture against Falun Gong.
The two defendants in the Argentina case are former CCP head Jiang Zemin, widely acknowledged as the chief instigator of the campaign to “eradicate” the spiritual practice; and Luo Gan, a former Politburo member who oversaw the 610 Office, an extralegal security agency that has led the violent campaign.
“Jiang and Luo's actions long ago placed them in the same category as the Augusto Pinochets, Slobodan Milosevics, and Charles Taylors of the world,” says Falun Gong spokesperson Erping Zhang. “International justice mechanisms are now catching up with these two as well."
"This decision is particularly historic because it is not only seeking to bring perpetrators to justice after the fact, it is also coming at a time when these crimes are ongoing. The arrest and prosecution of these two men could literally prevent further torture and killing of innocent Chinese citizens."
Following a four-year long investigation, Argentine judge Octavio Araoz de Lamadrid of Federal Court No. 9 issued a 146-page decision and related orders on December 17. The document offers a detailed and damning assessment of the CCP’s persecution of Falun Gong practitioners in China and the role that the two top officials played.
“The genocidal strategy … comprised a broad range of actions arranged in total contempt for life and human dignity,” says Lamadrid’s decision. “The designated purpose - the eradication of Falun Gong - was used to justify any means used. Therefore, torment, torture, disappearances, deaths, brainwashing, psychological torture were everyday occurrences in the persecution of its practitioners.”
The judge concludes the decision by issuing a national and international order to capture the pair to be carried out by the Interpol Department of the Federal Police of Argentina. As such, should the accused former officials travel to other countries that have extradition treaties with Argentina, they will ostensibly face being detained and transferred to Argentina to be brought before a court.
According to the attorneys who initially filed the case on behalf of Falun Gong victims, Dr. Alejandro Cowes and Dr. Adolfo Casabal Elia, the judge's decision was based on evidence that included the oral testimonies of 17 victims of torture and other forms of persecution. The judge also took into account the testimony of two medical doctors, United Nations reports, and research by human rights groups such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
“The CCP has already exerted tremendous political and economic pressure to squelch this and similar lawsuits,” says Zhang. “All the more reason why Judge Lamadrid should be applauded for his integrity and impartiality in handling this case. We urge the Argentine authorities to remain vigilant in the face of the CCP's pressure and continue the historic process of bringing these criminals to justice.”
The decision was taken under the legal principle of universal jurisdiction, which allows domestic courts to hear cases of genocide and crimes against humanity regardless of where they occur.
“I understand that in the present case the principle of universal jurisdiction must be applied in view of the [severity of the] crimes, the number of victims affected, and the ideological nature of the actions taken against members of the Falun Gong religious group,” the judge said in his ruling.
To arrange for an interview with one of the attorneys or witnesses, or to view a copy of the original decision in Spanish, please contact the Falun Dafa Information Center.