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Trying Erdogan for war crimes

‘Help us take Turkey’s president to the International Criminal Court’ — a message from Justice for Rojava legal campaign

LIKE many people around the world, we were deeply shocked by the Turkish attack on Kurds and ethnic minorities – Armenians, Assyrians and many more – in Rojava, northern Syria, who were living in harmony and sharing the running of their communities.

In October 2019, the United States suddenly abandoned its Kurdish partners, which had been instrumental in defeating Isis.

Withdrawing US troops gave Turkey’s president Erdogan the green light for invasion. The ethnic cleansing that followed caused a massive displacement of the Kurdish population, including tens of thousands of children.

The Turkish military action saw many atrocities and war crimes committed against the Rojava Kurds and other ethnic groups.

Kurdish Red Crescent stated: “The city of Ras al-Ayn is suffering shelling, artillery, air strikes and ground incursions with tanks and heavy weapons. This has led to many civilian injuries, and our medical teams have been targeted.

“Tens of girls from the city of Afrin have been kidnapped by the Turkish army and have been raped. One of the mothers said that her 14-year-old daughter was among them.

“Three members of a family went out of their house to get some food from the next shop. They got killed the moment they stepped out.”

Children were among the first innocent casualties of Turkey’s ethnic cleansing of Rojava’s residents; they are hurt and traumatised. Many photos we have are too horrific to share but will be presented to the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague.

A report by Dr Abbas Mansouran of October 28 2019 details the use of chemical weapons by the Turkish army: drones have dropped bombs with white phosphorus, causing terrible, life-changing burns and other severe injuries.

This is why we are seeking to take Erdogan to the ICC.

To do this, we have commissioned a renowned legal team in Britain, led by Michael Mansfield QC of Nexus Chambers, to advise and take the necessary steps to enable the ICC to fulfil its obligations under the Rome Statute with regard to the investigation and prosecution of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

We have raised over £11,000 from people around the world so far which means the legal team can start its work, but there is a long way to go to reach the £23,000 it will cost to take the case to the ICC.

We are taking this action as concerned individuals, because Kurds have no country of their own that can defend them. We are in direct contact with experts and specialist medical staff on the ground who are willing to testify.

We have been raising funds for the legal costs through the trusted CrowdJustice organisation which not long ago also raised such funds for the Women Against State Pension Age Inequality campaign.

We need wide support for this action. For example you may be able to raise the appeal at your local trade union branch and other membership organisations.

If you do donate, please leave a message in the comments box. Through this legal channel, we want to give the Kurdish and other victims and survivors a voice in their quest for justice. Our case aims to get Erdogan to remove the Turkish forces from occupied Rojava and to stop bombing so that those displaced can return, rebuild their lives and feel safe again in Rojava.

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