It is clear that this crime against humanity corresponds perfectly to the criteria set out in article 2 of the 1948 Genocide Convention.
– Eric David
PARIS, FRANCE, September 3, 2021 /EINPresswire.com/ – Last week, a number of international law experts, along with hundreds of other European dignitaries, participated in a virtual conference on what could be the biggest unresolved late twentieth century crime against humanity. More than 1,000 survivors of this crime also attended the event, many offering intimate memories of the Iranian regime’s mass executions in the summer of 1988.
In the space of about three months that year, around 30,000 political prisoners were killed on the orders of “death commissions” tasked with implementing a fatwa by the regime’s founder and first supreme leader Khomeini. About 90 percent of death commission victims were affiliated with Iran’s main pro-democracy opposition, Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK / PMOI).
Last year, seven United Nations human rights experts said that the failure of the international body to investigate the 1988 massacre “had a devastating impact on survivors and families as well as on the general human rights situation in Iran and encouraged Iran to… maintain a strategy of deviation and denial.
Survivors of the 1988 massacre have repeatedly criticized the international community for its policy of “appeasement” towards Tehran. Many point to the legitimation of the new Iranian president, Ebrahim Raisi, who was invested on August 5 during a ceremony in the presence, among others, of Enrique Mora, deputy political director of the European External Action Service.
In 1988, Raisi was one of four officials who served on Tehran’s death commission that oversaw the entire massacre. And in 2019, he placed himself at the head of the judiciary when it launched its long-term campaign of systematic torture. Amnesty International has rightly pointed out that Raisi’s accession to the presidency is “a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran”.
Raisi’s presidential inauguration makes it all the more imperative that the United Nations formally investigate the 1988 massacre and bring Raisi and other leading perpetrators to justice. The alternative is to legitimize the Raisi administration in a way that will inevitably give Tehran a greater sense of impunity than ever before.
Although prosecutions before the ICC may have particular symbolic weight, paragraph 4 of the Preamble to the Statute states that “States parties to this Statute […] Affirming that the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole must not go unpunished and that their effective prosecution must be ensured by taking action at the national level and strengthening international cooperation ”. As such, any declaration has the responsibility to fight against the impunity of the authorities responsible for the 1988 massacre.
As Raisi will most likely travel the world as president, nations will have ample opportunity to apply this principle in his case. There is overwhelming evidence that Raisi is indeed guilty of the most serious crimes against humanity.
One could even argue that the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 was an example of genocide and should be prosecuted as such. The fatwa underlying the 1988 massacre was not only political in nature but also religious. He called the PMOI members enemies of God and specifically stated that they “do not believe in Islam”.
PMOI members believe in a democratic and moderate Islam, diametrically opposed to the fundamentalism of the mullahs. The larger purpose of the 1988 massacre was to destroy a certain religious ideology, namely a Muslim faith compatible with pluralism and secular democratic governance, which would allow Iran to coexist peacefully with the rest of the world.
It is clear that this crime against humanity corresponds perfectly to the criteria set out in Article 2 of the 1948 Genocide Convention. This convention clearly defines the responsibility for action shared by all the nations which have ratified it. Since 1995, the Security Council has repeatedly called on States to fight impunity (see S / RES / 1012 and many other resolutions).
Thus, the International Law Commission in art. 9 of its 1996 draft Code of Crimes against the Peace and Security of Mankind wrote: “Without prejudice to the jurisdiction of an international criminal court, the State Party in whose territory an individual accused of committing [genocide], 18 [crimes against humanity], 19 [crimes against UN officials] or 20 [war crimes] is found must extradite or prosecute that individual.
If Western policymakers give proper attention to the genocidal impulses behind the 1988 massacre, they can help foster the international will that would be needed to prosecute Raisi and others in the International Criminal Court. But even if these policymakers can only convince their own governments of the gravity of the crime, that will be enough to justify bringing the perpetrators to justice in their own jurisdictions.
Sweden is doing just that with a lower level participant in the massacre, Hamid Noury. As a result of this action, the stage is set for other nations to attack those who bear the greatest responsibility.
Eric David is a renowned Belgian lawyer and professor of international law.
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International conference with 1000 former political prisoners Long version