Update on the Lawsuit in Chicago: Practitioners Will Appeal To A Higher Court
The judge of the US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois agreed to hear plaintiff's counsel at 9:30 a.m. on October 7, 2003 to consider further submissions which had been made to the court on September 29, 2003.
The submissions delivered on September 29 comprised six parts asking the judge to allow new statements and evidence to be added to the original lawsuit. The submissions also asked the court to reconsider the head-of-state immunity that it had granted Jiang Zemin.
The judge decided to sustain his earlier decision to dismiss the case. Accordingly, the plaintiffs shall file an appeal with the Seventh Circuit Court (an intermediate court) of United States Federal Court and continue with the case.
It is important to remember that although the Chicago court dismissed the lawsuit, it doesn't mean that the court thinks Jiang Zemin did not commit the serious crimes with which he has been accused, including genocide and torture.
The decision made by US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois to dismiss the case does not determine the guilt or innocence of Jiang and his regime. The judge simply ruled that the defendant Jiang has head-of-state immunity, and therefore he dismissed the case.
After almost eleven months of legal proceedings, this lawsuit has helped many people to re-evaluate the true nature of the persecution against Falun Gong, and to learn about the crimes against humanity Jiang Zemin has committed.
As the lawsuit continues to progress, more people will have the opportunity to see the crimes Jiang Zemin has committed in terms of human rights violations and persecution of spiritual beliefs. They will also see the extent of cruelty and scope of the persecution.
The defendant Jiang first refused to admit the existence of the lawsuit and suppressed the news by forbidding the Chinese media under his control to report it. He asserted tremendous pressure on the US government, even going so far as to threaten the stability of US-Sino relations. He used every means at his disposal in attempts to coerce the US government to tamper with justice and to intervene in the lawsuit.
As Jiang dares not stand up for himself, he pressured the US State Department which in turn proposed to the court through the US Judicial Department that Jiang be granted immunity as a head of state.
The US government cannot represent the defendant, but did deliver "Friends of the Court" (Amicus Curae) documents as a reference for the judge.
According to US officials, after the lawsuit was delivered to the US District Court of the Northern District of Illinois, the defendant exerted pressure on the US government through various means. For example, he threatened that Chinese government representatives would not meet with their US counterparts, and that diplomatic relations with China would become more difficult for the US. Chinese diplomats wrote letters and called US officials to apply pressure to dismiss the case.
The issue of whether a state head has immunity is a hot topic in the international world of human rights and law. Louis Moreno-Ocampo, Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, renowned US attorney Alan Dershowitz and Georges-Henri Beauthier (the famous human rights attorney who participated in the lawsuit against Augusto Pinochet, former head of Chile) all pointed out that an acting or retired head of state cannot enjoy immunity from prosecution under charges of torture, genocide and crimes against humanity.