‘Viscous, xenophobic & racist’ hate speech case against Katie Hopkins referred to ICC
The Society of Black Lawyers, which originally reported the column written by Hopkins and published by the Sun just hours before 800 migrants drowned in the Mediterranean, has referred the case to the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The SBL’s efforts come after UN human rights chief Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said the column – in which Hopkins referred to migrants as “cockroaches” – recalled Europe’s darkest days of fascist hate speech and “Nazi propaganda.”
“The case is an exceptionally strong one as the incitement of racial hatred in Hopkins’ unfounded rant illustrated her xenophobic views on the issue surrounding migrants in general,” SBL committee member Shireen Khan told RT.
“This is further portrayed from the numerous articles that are published by the Sun newspaper that are anti-immigrant and majority of the time simply untrue.”
Khan is confident the ICC, which is best known for investigating atrocities in the Balkans and Africa, will take SBL’s referral very seriously.
“I believe that the ICC will take up this case fully as they have a duty to investigate such matters especially the seriousness of this case, which is further emphasized by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ endorsement of our report.
“There is also a strong evidential basis on which SBL have brought this claim. It is quite a sad reality that [the] majority of the time racist abuse is unreported as a crime and secondly is hidden behind the ideas surrounding freedom of speech.”
Khan said the legitimization of anti-immigrant rhetoric under the banner of free speech was a scourge that had become all too common.
She pointed out that Hopkins’ controversial views proved infectious in some quarters, saying they were almost immediately echoed on LBC radio.
“Katie Hopkins’ column was published in the paper but it was then echoed in a viscous, xenophobic and racist tirade on radio, which led to exposure to further parts of society who may be disillusioned in thinking that immigrants are the cause of all destruction our country is facing.
“This has led to some of the most vulnerable people in the world being turned away from the support that they are entitled to under international law. These migrants trying to come to the EU are fleeing persecution, war and death.”
“Immigrants do not deserve to be the scapegoat of this country's problems and it's about time we stopped making them it.”
She blasted reactionary anti-immigrant elements within UK politics, arguing they were to blame for creating the political space in which such views could be aired without due criticism.
“We may count ourselves as a fair and liberal country. However, one must really look at the dynamics of the right and far right who are influencing the shape of this country at the moment.”
Khan also pointed to the economic situation as a driver in the rise of prejudice and xenophobia.
“This country is doing a bad job at looking after its own citizens with the numerous austerity measures in place at the moment.”
Besides the domestic economic and political context, Khan said Britain’s foreign policy continued to be a major factor in migration.
“British foreign policy has an enormous role to play in people seeking refuge here.
“Britain were [sic] involved in the intervention of Libya, [but] left them to their devices in the middle of a civil war with no help afforded to re-build their nation.
“Britain were a colonial state and we do intervene a lot. That role brings with it huge responsibility that we mustn't later shy away from.”
In June, the SBL are planning to send a fact-finding delegation to Lampedusa, Italy, where many refuges and migrants ended up.
Khan said the Murdoch-owned newspaper should follow suit, suggesting “accurate reports” are “something the Sun should do more of.”