(Clearwisdom.net August 22) Voice of America reported on August 20th, 2003 that on Tuesday, under a newly created law, lawyers in Belgium stated that six Falun Gong practitioners have filed a lawsuit against the former president of China, Jiang Zemin, for violations of Belgium's Human Rights Law.

The report points out that one of the plaintiffs in the case, Matthias Slaats, told Reuters on Tuesday, "A number of Falun Gong practitioners from Belgium, the United States and Australia have filed a lawsuit against Jiang Zemin, accusing him of torture, crimes against humanity and genocide. I think we have a very strong case; otherwise we would not have filed the lawsuit," Slaats said.

Continuing, it was mentioned that the lawsuit was filed under a new Belgian law passed on August 5, 2003. The new law replaced a similar previous law, which caused much controversy. Under the previous law, Belgian courts could accept lawsuits for violation of human rights regardless of the nationality of the plaintiff or the accused, or where the crimes were committed. Such a law had brought much diplomatic pressure on Belgium. The new law, which covers 'serious violations of international human rights law,' allows lawsuits to be filed only if there is a link between the alleged crimes and Belgium.

According to the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post, 33-year-old Belgian computer programmer Matthias Slaats said the lawsuit fulfilled the required criteria.

According to the report, Slaats said that he also suffered China's persecution of Falun Gong, as he was arrested and deported in China in February 2002. Plaintiffs of Chinese nationality in the other cases are currently living in the United States, Ireland and Australia. Slaats said, "On the issue of torture, some of the plaintiffs have lost family members and some had suffered long period of imprisonment."