Report of the International Seminar on the Role of People’s Tribunals in Empowerment of Civil Societies
The International Seminar on the Role of People’s Tribunals in Empowerment of Civil Societies was held on 25-26th October 2014 in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, to study the role of People’s Tribunals on a global level.
A number of international jurists and those in charge of people’s tribunals from various countries addressed the Seminar on their respective experiences in conducting these tribunals and exchanged views as to the future of this undertaking as a part and as a means of empowering civil societies.
In the Seminar the participants referred to their experiences in the massacre of political prisoners in Iran in the 1980s; the massacre of opponents and political prisoners in Chile in the same decade; sexual abuses of women by the Imperial Japanese Army during the Second World War; the Rios Montt trial in Guatemala and atrocities against Palestinians.
In this Seminar, participants included Tina Dolgopol, Associate Professor of Law at Flinders University; Advisory Council of the Women's Initiatives for Gender Justice; Co-Chief Prosecutor for the Women's International War Crimes Tribunal held in Tokyo; Andrew Byrnes, Professor of International Law, The University of New South Wales and Chair of the Australian Human Rights Centre; Professor Michael Mansfield QC, Barrister, Judge, Iran Tribunal, Judge, Russell Tribunal on Palestine; Regina Paulose, International Criminal Law Attorney and Creator/Author at ‘A CONTRARIO ICL’; Professor, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Iran Tribunal Foundation and a member of the prosecution team of the Iran Tribunal; Payam Akhavan, Professor of International Law, McGill University; Visiting Fellow, Oxford University; member of the prosecution team and a trustee of the Iran Tribunal Foundation; Dr Gianni Tognoni, General Secretary Permanent People’s Tribunal; Professor Pierre Galand, Co-ordinator, International Organising Committee, Russell Tribunal on Palestine; Professor John Cooper QC, Chairman of the Legal Steering Committee, member of the prosecution team, a trustee of the Iran Tribunal Foundation; Dr Shokoufeh Sakhi, Former Executive Director of Iran Tribunal Foundation, political prisoner in Iran in 1980s; Lynn Carter, Director, Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund; Sir Henry Brooke CMG, Retired Appeal Court Judge, Chair of the Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund and Hamid Sabi member of the Executive Committee of Iran Tribunal Foundation.
In the closing session of the Seminar on Sunday 26th Mother Esmat Vatan Parast, who lost 11 members of her family in 1980s in Iran, witness, Iran Tribunal; Mersedeh Ghaedi, who lost three members of her family in the same decade in Iran, a trustee of the Iran Tribunal Foundation, spokesperson, Iran Tribunal Working Group in Britain; and Alicia Lira Matus of Chile, who lost her husband during Pinochet era, AFEP President,related the horrors of these tragic events to the Seminar.
The Seminar also witnessed the screening of the documentary film made by Nima Sarvestani entitled "Those Who Said No", covering the massacre of political prisoners in Iran in 1980s and the process of the Iran Tribunal in 2012.
The proceedings of the Seminar were live streamed and will be covered in a publication and video in the near future.
The Seminar was hosted by Iran Tribunal and Prisoners of Conscience Appeal Fund.
28th October 2014