The case for taking China to ICJ: The epidemic of COVID-19, originating in Wuhan city of China, has killed more than 250,000 people within six months.
This epidemic is going to harm the economy of the world by three percent, and one in every two people around the world is in danger due to this heir. To prevent the spread of corona infection, funding is difficult for many countries, and they are taking loans.
The earnings of millions of companies have stopped, and industries like tourism have been locked overnight. In these circumstances, such voices are being raised that its responsibility should be fixed. And many people are pointing their fingers directly at China.
The case for taking China to ICJ: Taking China to the International Court of Justice over COVID-19
An account of economic loss
The case for taking China to ICJ: The German newspaper ‘Bild’ has calculated the economic damage caused to Germany by the epidemic. The newspaper says that Germany has incurred a loss of $ 160 million, and its liability lies in China.
Many companies all over the world, people, in general, are looking for the possibility of compensating for the losses from China. Everyone says that China did not take steps at the beginning of the epidemic and delayed warning the world about it.
Franklin Ordonez is one such person. Franklin, a lawyer, and politician by profession is 62 years old and hails from Ecuador. In March, his elder brother died due to COVID-19.
‘Someone will have responsibility.’
The case for taking China to ICJ: Franklin, from the city of Guayaquil most affected by the Coronavirus in Ecuador, told on the phone, “So many people have died in the world, someone will be responsible.”
Things had become so bad in Guayaquil that hospitals there had come to a standstill, and the place in the graveyards was withdrawn. Franklin cannot function due to lockdown. Therefore, they have to make a living from their savings.
Knowing that there is no evidence, Franklin Ordonez is confident that the coronavirus was produced in a laboratory in China. He says, “The epidemic did not spread in the neighboring provinces of China, which started the transition, but it spread all over the world.
America, which has every weapon to protect itself, also saved itself from the storm.
Franklin had not met his brother for months, nor could he say goodbye to him on his last trip.
He says, “I think anyone who has lost their loved ones because of this disease will want China to pay the penalty for this epidemic.”
Is the mission impossible?
Did China want the new Coronavirus? To what extent is this change possible? Wim Müller, an expert in international law at the British think tank Chatham House, says, “For this, other countries have to take steps.
For this, they have to first find out any international law or any provision that China has violated.” “After this, the other thing that has to be taken care of is to find a court that has its jurisprudence i.e., the right to hear the case.
It is always very difficult in international law. Because usually, a country Does not want any court to have the authority to decide on its conduct. ” “For example, you have the International Court of Justice in The Hague, but countries need to be cleared to hear a case here.
So as far as possible, China will deny its appearance before any outside court.”
The case for taking China to ICJ: So is there any possibility?
Wim Müller says that in all the ways suggested for legal action against China, there is a better possibility of using Article 75 of the Constitution of the World Health Organization to raise China in the International Court of Justice.
He explains, “It states that if any dispute arises regarding any provision of the constitution of the World Health Organization and if that dispute is not resolved by negotiation or in the Health Assembly, then any country can take it to the ICJ. That the dispute, in this case, is that China has not discharged its responsibility. “
“But even then, the country that wants to take China to the ICJ will have to first try to talk to it.
The issue will have to be taken to the Health Assembly of the World Health Organization.” Professor Joaquin Elcade, Professor of Public International Law at Spain’s University of Savia, says, “If China is to be taken to the ICJ, then it needs to be fixed first.
Something happened in its territory, or else it complied with some international obligation. Have you not done it, so it becomes their responsibility? It needs to be decided. “
“Here, you will be surprised that China is being held responsible for whatever is happening in the rest of the world.”
Path of diplomacy
The case for taking China to ICJ: Professor Joaquin is of the opinion that the most practical way. It is a diplomatic solution. He says, “You can put any requirement or demand out of diplomatic channels. On the basis of the law, facts can be put forward.
This demand can also be kept whether compensation is required or you just accept your mistake.” However, Franklin Ordonez believes that people like him can demand direct compensation from China in a personal capacity, and for this, they can knock on the door of any court of another country.
That’s why Franklin is waiting for the results of the new investigation so that a case can be made against China. He is part of a ‘class action lawsuit’ brought by the American law firm ‘Berman Law Group’.
‘Class action lawsuit’ refers to a claim where one side is a group of people and not one person.
‘Class action lawsuit.’
Jeremy Alters, a spokesman for the Berman Law Group, says, “China is known for the whereabouts of states. So we need to know, and as soon as possible, what happened there.” This law firm has filed two separate cases in US courts. In these cases, a case has been filed in China in a Texas court regarding the fact that it had prepared the coronavirus as a biological weapon.
In the lawsuits filed in the courts of Missouri and Mississippi, China has been accused that it did not make much effort to stop the epidemic and was late in telling the world about it.
In ‘Class Action Law Suits’ of ‘Berman Law Group,’ 14 thousand people from 46 countries have formed parties. These include companies, and relatives of people who died of the Coronavirus, such as Franklin Ordóñez.
Pandemic of COVID-19
Nitsana Darshan Leitner is the president of Shuraat Hadin, a non-governmental organization in Israel. His organization is also preparing to bring a ‘class action lawsuit’ against China.
They are fully confident that they will not have any problem in finding a party or expert for the case. Experts who can find the answer to the question of whether China is responsible for the COVID-19 epidemic?
She says, “The biggest hurdle is China’s argument that no court has jurisdiction to prosecute them. We are seeking to cut this argument.”
Immunity jurisprudence ‘
The case for taking China to ICJ: ‘Immunity jurisprudence’ is a judicial principle under which a sovereign nation cannot be prosecuted outside its land.
Professor Tom Ginsberg of International Law at the University of Chicago says, “You cannot prosecute a sovereign nation in any other country except for a few exceptions.”
What are the chances of success in such ‘class action lawsuits’ ie, common cases being brought against America in China? Professor Tom Ginsberg answers this question, “To be honest, not even a ratty.”
US FSI Law
The exemption granted to a country under the US Jurisdiction Immunities Act (FSIA) can be abolished in some cases. Professor Tom Ginsberg says, “If a foreign government is involved in business activity. Like a government company selling something in the United States, it can be the basis for a lawsuit.
The other basis is a ‘mistake’ that causes accidental harm. “But this ‘damage’ must be from some ‘work’ that has been done on the land of America.”
“Most of the cases brought against China have been filed on the basis of these exceptions. But when you read their arguments carefully, you will find that they do not have much power.”
But Matthew Murray, the lead attorney of the Berman Law Group, argues that the damage has been done on American soil.
Arguments against china
Matthew Murray says, “China knew from the end of December that human-to-human infection was occurring. This virus is dangerous. But even then, it allowed people to travel around the world from Wuhan.”
“These people were actually like virus bombs. They were in a position to spread infection anywhere. The truth is that the moment they were allowed to leave from Wuhan, they became agents of the Chinese government at that very moment.
And those people Viruses are spreading in America, so damage is happening in America. ” Matthew Murray also argues that if the coronavirus started from a lab or market, then both are involved in commercial activities. Therefore, a second exception will also be considered in the court.
Matthew Murray does not appear to stop here. He says that the application of the case will be amended to make the Communist Party of China a party.
“It is an independent organization. There is no country. This means that the Communist Party of China is not going to get an exemption in the name of ‘immunity jurisprudence'”.
Chance of success
But international law expert Wim Muller disagrees with Matthew Murray’s plea. He says, “For example, if you want to justify Xi Jinping, you will not win this case because he is the head of a nation.
He is also exempt under ‘immunity jurisprudence’ and his junior officers too. ” Both Wim Müller and Professor Tom Ginsberg agree that lawsuits and government lawyers only want publicity in such cases.
But Professor Tom Ginsberg says, “Lawyers filing class-action suits have multiple lawsuits at the same time. Most of them have little chance of success in the cases. But if they win, then there is a huge amount of money.” Will become.”
He laughs, “Even if the chances are small, but if there is a trillion-dollar crisis, what is the harm in trying?”
Property in china
Jeremy Alters, a spokesman for the Berman Law Group, says, “We have 24 to 25 people working on this case every day. We have spent a lot of money in this case. And we will continue to spend our money on this case.
If we do not take this case and do not believe in victory, then we do not take these risks. “ Parties like ‘Berman Law Group’ hope that they will get financial compensation, and it will be recovered from the property of China in the US.
Although Jeremy Alters also believes that those who have lost their lives, they cannot be brought back, but their losses can be partially recovered. He says, “China allowed the virus to spread from Wuhan, and it failed to warn the rest of the world from its danger that we could save ourselves. They are responsible for it.”
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