COVID-19 vaccines: A crime against humanity? The International Criminal Court to determine

COVID is a biological weapon”, this according to papers filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) on the 6th of December 2021 by various complainants, including lawyer and human rights activist Hannah Rose, and Dr Mike Yeadon, the former Vice President and Chief Scientist of allergy and respiratory research at Pfizer.

24 Jan 2022 2 min read Employment Law Alert Article

At a glance

  • A criminal complaint has been filed with the International Criminal Court (ICC) alleging that COVID-19 vaccines are a biological weapon. The complaint targets various individuals, including the UK Prime Minister, WHO Director-General, and executives of pharmaceutical companies, accusing them of crimes against humanity and violations of the Nuremberg Code.
  • The complainants argue that COVID-19 vaccines are experimental, lacking long-term safety data and not meeting the necessary requirements for human use. They also claim an increase in deaths associated with COVID-19 vaccinations based on statistical evidence.
  • The ICC has acknowledged receipt of the complaint, but no decision has been made yet on whether to investigate. This development is relevant to the mandatory vaccine rollout in South African workplaces and universities, where some individuals object to vaccination based on the argument of experimental status. However, this argument may not be legally valid to oppose mandated vaccines in the workplace.

The criminal complaint is brought against various alleged perpetrators including the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Director-General of the World Health Organisation, co-chairs of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and senior executives of multinational pharmaceutical companies involved in the production of vaccines, for allegedly perpetrating crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of aggression and violations of the Nuremberg Code.

At the heart of the complaint lies the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The complainants contend that with COVID-19 vaccine trials ongoing and not due to conclude until late 2022 or early 2023, it renders COVID-19 vaccines currently experimental with only limited short term data, and no long-term adult safety data available. The complainants further argue that the mRNA vaccine technology used to develop COVID-19 vaccines has not previously been approved for human use, nor do the vaccines actually meet the requirements to be categorised as such. Also, the complainants relying on statistical evidence argue that there has been an increase in deaths attributable to COVID-19 vaccinations.

The ICC is established in terms of the Rome Statute and is mandated to investigate and, where warranted, convene proceedings against individuals charged with crimes of concern to the international community such as genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Whilst the ICC has acknowledged receipt of the criminal complaint, no decision has been taken yet by the ICC to investigate the complaint which is a precursor to the prosecution of alleged perpetrators.

With the roll out of mandatory vaccines in South African workplaces and universities, this development is of interest in that there has been a growing number of employees, at least, who rely upon an argument that the COVID-19 vaccines are “experimental” and for such alleged reason they should not be compelled to vaccinate. This form of argument may not fall within the legitimate legal grounds to object to a mandated vaccine in the workplace and employers should be aware thereof.

In late 2021 an application was filed with the Constitutional Court, challenging the implementation of COVID-19 mandates in workplaces by the South African National Christian Forum. Recently, a similar application has been filed by the National Black Consumer Council. One of the issues raised in these applications, is the lack of data available on the safety of COVID-19 vaccines. The Constitutional Court has yet to pronounce on these applications. The University of the Free State is also facing a legal challenge to its vaccine policy.

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