Hague tribunal slams Iran for mass murder

A non-binding legal tribunal accuses Tehran leaders for massive human rights violations done during 1980s regime.

November 1, 2012 23:18
2 minute read.
International Court of Justice

International Court of Justice 390. (photo credit: REUTERS)


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BERLIN – A non-binding legal tribunal in The Hague consisting of political victims of Iran’s regime in the 1980s issued an interim report in late October slamming Tehran’s clerical leaders for massive human rights violations.

“There are six forms of gross human rights abuses to which the evidence presented to the Truth Commission and this tribunal point incontrovertibly: murder, torture, unjust imprisonment, sexual violence, persecution and enforced disappearance,” the report stated.

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“The Iran tribunal in The Hague marks a uniquely historic moment for Iran’s civil society. For the first time in world history, a society is coming to terms with its past while a totalitarian dictatorship is still in its last days of power,” Saba Farzan, a Berlinbased expert on Iran’s human rights record, told The Jerusalem Post via email on Thursday.

“The criminals who committed all these barbaric crimes against humanity are still alive, and so this undertaking sends a very strong signal: Judgment Day will come for them and all those who are still torturing and killing the innocent sons and daughters of a whole nation.”

Farzan, who is a German- Iranian journalist and has published widely on Iran’s repression of its population, added that the tribunal was “a process very necessary to speed up the downfall of this Islamist dictatorship and one to finally heal the soul of Iran’s civil society. [The fact] that nothing short of a change of the regime will work for the future of Iran has become once more evident through this historic step.”

Geoffrey Nice, one of the authors of the interim report and a former prosecutor at the UN’s International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, told AFP, “The world doesn’t investigate what it doesn’t want to investigate.”

“The most important thing is to leave a record. What we want is to force the UN to set up an inquiry commission because once such a commission says, ‘There have been horrible crimes,’ they can’t go back and they have to do something. But the Security Council, and especially Russia, would veto that,” Nice added.

The Islamic Republic chose not to participate in The Hague proceeding. The tribunal judges said a full report is slated to appear at a later point. The lawyers and judges examined the wave of executions and the violent period of repression after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, in which over 20,000 people were executed, according to the tribunal.

The report restricted its inquiry to reported atrocities committed during the period between 1981 and 1988.

According to the tribunal, the lawyers took evidence from 19 witnesses and documents.

Testimony was translated from Farsi into English.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran committed murder. Nima Sarvestani’s documentary showed graves of executed prisoners stretching out as far as the eye can see; the gravedigger of Shiraz reported the delivery of 60 bodies on a single occasion, of victims at most 20 years old,” the report stated.

“Men were arrested at ten in the morning and dead by eleven. Entire families were eliminated and whole wards purged. Rows of prisoners were shot by firing squads, still breathing until they were finished off by coups de grâce, and we heard from this morning’s witness of how child prisoners were required to administer these coups de grâce. Truckloads of bodies were tipped into mass graves.”

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