How and where to prosecute the Iranian Regime?
This has been written after the [US State Department’s] named 8 individuals involved in criminal activity of the last year and a half in Iran in their initial list of human rights abusers. Looking the list of names against whom the US is imposing financial sanctions, and regardless of questions about why names such as Mr. Ali Khamenei’s and his allies are missing, or why only financial sanctions are being applied, many people raise the question of how, and under which authority, these individuals and their allies could be prosecuted?
An abstract and simplified answer, sparing the technical details of the process, follows. First, we need to mention those international authorities who, contrary to common assumption, are not authorized to try these individuals for their crimes:
1) International Court of Justice, also known as the Hague (Den Haag) Court is only authorized to settle international legal disputes between States and is not authorized in criminal cases of individuals even if they happen to be the head of State.
2) International Criminal Court, which is also located in the Hague (Den Haag) in the Netherlands, is also not authorized to investigate the crimes of the above mentioned listed names and their allies. This court, based on the Rome Statute which was signed by many members of the United Nations on 17 July 1998, and entered into force on 1 July 2002, is only authorized to exercise jurisdiction over criminal acts which took place after 2002, the year of its establishment (as a result, investigation of the Islamic Republic regime’s crimes of its fist two decades cannot be pursued by this court).
Furthermore, this court is only authorized to exercise jurisdiction over the countries who have finalized ratification of the Rome Statute. Therefore, since Iran has not ratified the Rome Statute in its Parliament yet, and until it happens in Iran, crimes which take place in this country cannot be prosecuted in the International Criminal Court (except for the case issued in the article 4 below). Ultimately, the court’s authority is of a “complementary authority” which, under certain circumstances, can exercise its jurisdiction against the consignatary countries. Due to the limitation on scope of this article these circumstances are not mentioned here.
3) There is another court in the Hague called the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). This is the first criminal court that, after ratification by the Security Council of the United Nations in 1993, was established to exclusively investigate the war crimes, genocides and crimes against humanity that took place in the 1990s in the Balkan countries. Following the establishment of ICTY, other similar courts were established by the U.N. Security Council regarding some other countries such as Rwanda and Sierra Leone, whose authority was uniquely specific to the particular circumstances of these countries. As a result, none of these specific international tribunals which are known as “third generation courts” or “specific criminal courts” (Ad hoc) have the authorities to investigate the crimes of the heads of the Islamic Republic.
4) Currently only two methods are available to address the crimes of the leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran:
A) via the approval of the United Nations Security Council for the formation of special criminal court, or
B) granting special authority to the International Criminal Court under the authority contained in paragraph b, Article 13, of the Rome Statute. This requires the scheme to be proposed by member states of the Security Council.
It requires action from liberal organizations, political parties & groups, and human rights advocates, to demand world governments to take action.
Everyone must tirelessly pursue this matter.
Charges can be brought by victims (whether Iranian nationals or citizens of other countries) or their representatives in the case of criminal damages or abuse of their rights and also cases of crimes against humanity can be brought to trial in countries where international law is upheld. Most European countries and North America are members of this group, which defends International Law.
In such a case, sentences issued by these Courts can be enforced in these countries in the first place and in other countries under certain circumstances.
The important point to note is that both these paths can be pursued simultaneously by whomever is able to do so.
Moreover, it should be mentioned that criminials condemned for genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes cannot escape the responsibilities associated with these crimes in relying on rights of a governing regime and/or the national law of their country. This has been established by various treaties (including the Geneva treaties, documentations of the preliminary negotiations regarding these treaties, the international judiciary procedures including stipulations of the trials of Nuremberg, Tokyo and higher international criminal courts mentioned above). It is backed by statements and resolutions of an individual or group of countries together with other sources and authorities of international law. Justice has closed the escape door for these perpetrators.
On our part, we try to prepare documentation and evidence to present to the international audience. In some cases we try to provide help to our compatriots to present their complaints in other countries. In order to succed in this task and have a real and genuine impact, we need continuous and extensive efforts by a broad group of people, as well as by political, social and human rights institutions. We should all call loudly for the trial of these criminals, such that our voices are heard everywhere. We do not doubt that these criminals will be tried in a court of justice either abroad or in the country after the fall of this dictatorial regime. The progress of this work relies on the hard efforts of every freedom-loving and justice-seeking individual. Let us include this task in our individual and social agenda until we reach a fully successful result.
Green Lawyers Movement
Source : [Farsi] http://bit.ly/9tz7iL