Hague tribunal to investigate Iran massacre of political prisoners

Mahsa Alimardani, published on The Vancouver Observer (http://www.vancouverobserver.com)

Oct 26th, 2012

The world’s seat of international law, the Peace Palace in The Hague is host to a historic event this week – an investigation into the massacres of Iran’s political prisoners throughout the 1980s.

While this is the home of the International Court of Justice, this tribunal is a symbolic event underway through the voluntary efforts of human rights lawyers, judges, academics, and activists.

The event is modeled after Bertrand Russell’s tribunals for war crimes committed by the United States in Vietnam throughout the 1960s.

Amnesty International in London hosted the first session of the tribunal this past July. This session resulted in a report of details from over 30 prisoners, and 75 witnesses, with testimonies from officials and experts on Iranian law and punishment.

The legal team leading the second session this week includes key figures in international law. Sir Geoffrey Nice, the former prosecutor on the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY); and South African constitutional judge Johann Kriegler who helped transition the South African government out of Apartheid are amongst those participating.

The tribunals only hold a symbolic truth and reconciliation platform for the victims of the massacres.

In his opening statement, the chairman of the steering committee, Payam Akhavan stated the Tribunals mean to prove that, “despite the lack of rightful rule of law, there is a way to find peace. There may never be justice and retribution for those responsible for these crimes, but a future democratic Iran will use this information for tangible justice.” Continue reading