Updated: September 15, 2021 10:59 AM GMT
The most comprehensive, complex and potentially consequential inquiry into the persecution of the Uyghurs – the Uyghur Tribunal – concluded on Monday. After eight days of public hearings in London in June and September in which the tribunal heard from over 70 witnesses and – according to Counsel to the Tribunal Hamid Sabi – after over 30 researchers spent over 10,000 hours reviewing hundreds of thousands of pages of documents, including 500 fact witness statements – we now await the Tribunal’s judgment, due on 9 December.Whatever the Tribunal’s judgment on the question at hand – whether the persecution of the Uyghurs can be determined as genocide – this exercise itself is truly remarkable, for many reasons and four in particular.Firstly, the database of evidence that has been compiled maybe, as Mr. Sabi said in his summary yesterday, be one of the most complete databases on this issue. That in itself is an achievement, as it will serve policy-makers, historians and perhaps prosecutors in coming years well. Even if the perpetrators of the grave atrocity crimes alleged are never brought to justice, the history of the persecution of the Uyghurs will be told with greater accuracy.