Independent people’s tribunal is established to investigate forced organ harvesting in China

An independent tribunal to inquire into forced organ harvesting from prisoners of conscience in China has been established as an initiative of the International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC). 

The Tribunal will investigate if any criminal offences have been committed by state or state-approved bodies / organisations in China concerning forced organ harvesting.

Executive Director of ETAC, Susie Hughes, states “independent people’s tribunals often deal with grave crimes that official international organisations are unwilling or unable to investigate. 

“Such a tribunal can provide some resolution to survivors or the loved ones of those killed,”  said Ms Hughes.

The Tribunal consists of seven independent members, chaired by Sir Geoffrey Nice, QC and will hold scheduled public hearings in London. 

(Sir Geoffrey Nice worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006 and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia)

It is expected that the Tribunal will receive evidence from 30 witnesses and experts during 3 days of hearings in December, with the final day on International Human Rights Day, 10th December 2018. Further sessions of the Tribunal will be arranged as necessary.

Chair of ETAC's International Advisory Committee, Professor Wendy Rogers states that, “In order to address a crime of this magnitude, the international community requires robust legal analysis.

“The Tribunal will provide this analysis, along with a transparent and permanent evidence-based record of forced organ harvesting in China.
Such an inquiry could also provide material that could compel official international organisations to take further action,” said Professor Rogers.

Background reading materials
China has been accused of forced organ harvesting since 2000. Initially China was charged with forcibly removing the organs of death row prisoners. China later claimed that death row prisoners consented to donating their organs to the State to redeem themselves for the crimes they had committed against the State, a practice China claimed to have stopped in January 2015. However, the explosion of organ transplant activities in China from 2000 together with reports of thousands of transplant tourists going to China to purchase organs, suggests a larger supply of organs than could be sourced from executed criminals alone. The scale of the Chinese transplant industry, together with other evidence, points to the possibility that China is involved in forced organ harvesting and selling for profit organs from prisoners of conscience. In 2016, ETAC published the most comprehensive examination of transplant abuse in China to date. To access this, please visit:, Gutmann, Matas).

About ETAC
The International Coalition to End Transplant Abuse in China (ETAC) is an international not for profit, non-government organisation with headquarters in Australia and National Committees in the UK, USA, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. ETAC is a coalition of lawyers, academics, ethicists, medical professionals, researchers and human rights advocates dedicated to ending forced organ harvesting in China.
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People's tribunals have previously been held to investigate human rights abuses in Iran, Vietnam and North Korea, as well as into the crimes Japan committed against the ‘Comfort Women’, along with other important international issues. Informal - ’peoples’ - tribunals typically deal with grave crimes occurring during events of mass suffering, usually but not always killings, that official international organisations are unwilling, unable or too fearful to investigate. Decisions – judgments – of these tribunals provide some resolution to survivors or the loved ones of those killed or who have died since the relevant event. They also provide material that can be used to urge official international organisations to further action and as a historical ‘evidence-based’ record, where no other may ever exist, of the criminality of horrifying events.

For further information on the importance of people’s tribunals, please watch: