Coronavirus Outbreak: Advocate files complaint against China in International Criminal Court

Published: 16 April, 2020 10:33 IST | Vishal Singh | Mumbai

The complaint filed by advocate Ashish Suhani accused China of criminal negligence and hiding information about the outbreak

This picture has been used for representational purposes
This picture has been used for representational purposes

Amid the Coronavirus crisis that the entire world is battling, an advocate filed a criminal complaint against China in the International Criminal Court. The complaint filed by advocate Ashish Suhani accused China of criminal negligence and hiding information about the outbreak.

The novel Coronavirus or COVID-19 broke out in the Chinese city of Wuhan where a rise in the number of cases was first reported on November 17, 2019. But China informed the World Health Organisation (WHO) about the infection only on December 31, 2019, it stated.

Advocate Suhani mentioned in the complaint-cum-petition that China’s negligence was causing a grave economic loss to India. "I have sent the complaint to the International Criminal Court over an e-mail and have also marked the Prime Minister of India, Ministry of External Affairs and Chief Minister of Maharashtra in it," Suhani told mid-day.

The complaint also said that the scores of people across the globe have been infected and died the pandemic that originated in China and it must, therefore, pay USD 2.5 trillion as compensation to India. The International Criminal Court is a part of the United Nations.

A doctor at Wuhan Hospital had also made a video and circulated it among his colleagues to tell them about a ‘SARS-like virus’, the complaint alleged.

According to foreign policy analyst Dr Shailendra Devalankar, in 2007, some guidelines were given by the World Health Organisation which countries across the world had signed. It said that every country must provide WHO with the virus-related information immediately.

According to the guidelines of the International Law Commission 2001, every country is required to take responsibility for not harming any other country via such a virus.

"According to section 86 of the Code of Civil Procedure 1908, a person can file a lawsuit against a foreign national, but for this, special permission has to be obtained from the Central Government. The big question is whether the Centre will allow it right now," Dr Devalankar added.

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