By News Desk
UNITED NATIONS, GENEVA—As the supreme commander, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India is responsible for how the Indian army tied a young man to the front of a jeep and paraded him across Kashmir villages. A group of experts in international law are considering taking India to International Court of Justice to hold members of Indian government and military accountable for legitimizing the use of civilians as human shields.
International human rights defenders came down hard on India for rewarding an Indian army colonel who tied 27-year-old Farooq Ahmed Dar to a military jeep at the front of a convoy.
A human rights expert from Turkey said ICJ can look not only into Indian army’s use of a human shield but also the Indian army chief rewarding such an action, which endangered more lives.
“This legal action is possible, and is underway,” Prof. Dr. Mehmet Sukru Guzel told a Kashmir side event at 35th UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) session. Guzel is a representative of CAPAJ, an international human rights group.
Guzel spoke at an event where two top lawyers and a woman’s rights activist from Indian-occupied Kashmir held an interactive dialogue with international human rights organizations on Indian army’s use of human shields in Kashmir.
Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, convener of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (APHC), presided over the interactive dialogue, which was titled, ‘Use of Human Shield in Conflicts’. An attorney at law, Naqshbandi said the way a Kashmir young man was used as human shield in April could constitute a war crime.
Mrs. Shamim Shawl, senior freedom leader at APHC, gave an update on the humanitarian situation in Kashmir.
Another lawyer from Srinagar, Pervaiz Ahmed Shah, referred to the US military tribunal at Nuremberg and the International Criminal Tribunal for Former Yugoslavia. These legal precedents expose Indian political and military leaders to possible war-crime charges in Kashmir.
“The use of prisoners of war as human shields during the Second World War was the subject of war crimes trials by the UK Military Court at Luneburg in the Student case in 1946,” Advocate Shah said, adding, “and by the US Military Tribunal at Nuremberg in the Von Leeb case in 1948.”
There is also the legal precedent in Yugoslavia, Advocate Shah said. “In the Karadžić and Mladić case in 1995 before the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the accused were charged with war crimes for using UN peacekeepers as human shields,” Shah added.
In an earlier statement, Kenneth Roth, Executive Director of the Human Rights Watch (HRW), has strongly criticized Indian army actions in Kashmir. “The current Indian army chief, General Bipin Rawat, is displaying criminal leadership,” he said.
The eight-member Kashmir Delegation for UNHRC’s 35th session consists of Altaf Hussain Wani-Delegation leader and senior Kashmir freedom leader, senior APHC leaders-Syed Faiz Naqshbandi, Hassan al-Banna and Advocate Pervaiz Ahmed Shah, Sardar Amjad Youssef Khan-Executive Director Kashmir Institute Of International Relations (KIIR), senior woman Kashmiri leader Mrs. Shamim Shawl, Ahmed Quraishi-Executive Director YFK–International Kashmir Lobby Group and Prof. Shagufta Ashraf-Human Rights Defender working with women & children.
YFK–International Kashmir Lobby Group (Youth Forum For Kashmir) is Pakistan’s first pro-Kashmir, registered and nonpartisan International lobbying group led by young Kashmiris and Pakistanis working to ensure justice to Kashmiris living under Indian-military occupation.