Iran should be brought before the International Court of Justice at The Hague for its state-sanctioned incitement to genocide, said former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler on Tuesday as he unveiled an 18-point road map designed to hold Teheran in check.
At a Jerusalem press conference, Cotler called for stiffer action against Iran’s nuclear program, even as he warned that focusing solely on that threat had “sanitized” other significant threats, such as Teheran’s “genocidal incitement,” support of international terrorism and “domestic repression.” Former High Court of Justice president Meir Shamgar, who was also at the press conference, said, “In Iran there is a massive assault on human rights and the rule of law, while dangerous state-sanctioned incitement to genocide continues unabated, the whole amidst a culture of impunity.” In hopes of changing the tenor and scope of international activity against Iran, Cotler, on behalf of the Canadian-based organization Responsibility to Prevent Coalition, released a 200-page international report called “The Danger of a Nuclear, Genocidal and Rights-Violating Iran: The Responsibility to Prevent Petition.”
Iranian-backed attacks in Iraq
debate Iran sanctions
The report has been endorsed by 100 scholars, jurists, parliamentarians,
human rights activists and former world leaders.
“We want to sound the alarm and wake up the international community,”
Cotler told The Jerusalem Post
According to the report, Iran executed 26 juvenile offenders from 2005
to mid-2008, which accounted for 80 percent of all juvenile executions
in the world. It quoted a statistics from the NGO Stop Child Executions,
which said that there are 140 minors on death row in Iran.
Cotler also pointed to the case of an Iranian mother of two who had been
sentenced to death by stoning for the crime of adultery.
Following international pressure, Iran recently said it froze the matter
In his road map, Cotler called for the use of international and domestic
law, as well as sanctions, to redress the massive human rights
violations in Iran.
Among his suggestions were limiting foreign visits by Iranian leaders,
raising human rights issues in every bilateral meeting with Iran,
freezing assets of Iranian officials, supporting organizations that
document human rights abuses in Iran, and ensuring that Iranian
officials involved in acts of torture and terror are not immune to to
civil law suits.
Individual governments could terminate contracts with companies that
facilitate domestic repression and the disruption of free communication
in Iran, according to the report.
It added that the names of companies that send surveillance equipment to
Iran should be published.
With respect to state incitement to genocide by the government in
Teheran, the report noted that “every State Party to the Genocide
Convention can initiate an inter-state complaint before the
International Court of Justice against Iran, which is also a state party
to the Genocide Convention.”
The UN Security Council could also sanction Iran on this matter, said
According to the report, there is a “critical mass of precursors to
genocide in Ahmadinejad’s Iran, constituting thereby not only the
prelude to a preventable tragedy, but a crime in and of itself under
international law. Simply put, Iran has already committed a crime of
incitement to genocide.” The report added that it was an “international
legal obligation of the highest order” to prevent this genocide.
With regard to the larger issue of sanctions against Iran, particularly
with an eye toward its nuclear program, the road map stated that Iranian
airplanes should not be able to land in other countries, and cargo
ships should not be able to dock.
The report said that better enforcement was needed with regard to
national and international sanctions. It took issue with the US, in
particular, which it said had sent “mixed and disturbing messages to the
corporate world regarding doing business in Iran.” In the last decade,
according to the report, the US government awarded more than $107
billion in contract payments, grants and other benefits to foreign and
multi-national companies doing business in Iran. That includes nearly
$15 billion to companies that violated American sanctions law by making
large investments that helped Iran develop its vast oil and gas reserve.
Separately at the press conference, Bassam Eid, founder and chairman of
the Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring group, spoke of Iran’s link to
terrorist activity in Gaza and areas controlled by the Palestinian
Authority. Iran, he said, was a danger to the region and to the security
of the Palestinian people.
Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin