FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
The American Justice Center, an organization established to bring to justice perpetrators of mass violence and genocides, today welcomed a Canadian Court’s summons to visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi under Section 269.1 of the Canadian Criminal Code, although the summons was immediately blocked by the Attorney General. The lawsuitfiled by two survivors of the Gujarat 2002 pogroms under the aegis of a group known as Sikhs For Justice, sought prosecution of Mr. Modi for acts of human rights violations and assaults on religious freedom during the horrific massacres of 2002. After a seven-hour pre-enquete hearing to determine whether there was sufficient evidence to issue process; the Justice of the Peace decided that process be issued. In other words, a court of law has finally recognized there is sufficient evidence of Mr. Narendra Modi’s involvement in the massacre of Muslims in 2002, for Mr. Modi to be brought to trial.
The Gujarat pogrom claimed the lives of over 2,000 people and displaced 150,000. Hundreds of women were raped by rampaging mobs, and were subsequently burned alive. Coming after similar cases against Mr. Modi in US and Australia, the case in Canada widens the legal troubles following Mr. Modi during several foreign trips. Sikhs for Justice (SFJ) has offices in Toronto and New York, had earlier represented US-based American Justice Center (AJC) when the latter sought Mr. Modi’s prosecution under the Tort Claims Act (ATCA), during his much publicized US visit. The Canadian case is being pursued independently by SFJ.
Representing SFJ, Toronto-based veteran constitutional and human rights lawyer Ms. Marlys Edwardh and her associate Louis Century called on Justice Minister Peter MacKay to charge Mr. Modi for torture and genocide in connection with the horrific anti-Muslim pogroms of 2002 in Gujarat, during his tenure as Chief Minister of that state.
“The summons issued by the Ontario Court of Justice, albeit blocked by the Attorney General, is a recognition of the voluminous evidence available to initiate prosecution of Mr. Narendra Modi, ” said AJC President, Mr. Joseph Whittington, Jr., who is the 2nd Ward Alderman of Harvey, Illinois. “Had the summons been allowed to be served, we strongly believe the case would have ultimately served justice to those who have been denied justice since the pogroms of 2002,” added Mr. Whittington.
The Gujarat pogrom of 2002 was one of the worst episodes of sectarian violence in independent India, and was marked with horrific crimes against humanity, including the rape of over 800 women. Many of the victims were subsequently burned alive. Although the Special Investigation Team (SIT) investigating the mass violence did not prosecute Mr. Modi, an amicus curiae appointed by the Supreme Court had recommended Mr. Modi’s prosecution. A case filed by Mrs. Zakia Jafri, widow of slain Parliamentarian Ehsan Jafri, is pending against Mr. Modi in the Gujarat High Court.
The American Justice Center (AJC) is a human rights organization dedicated to holding human rights abusers and perpetrators of mass violence accountable. AJC provides legal aid and support for international judicial redress to victims deprived of legitimate and legal means to justice.