For the first time in the contemporary history of Iran, an international campaign has been launched to investigate the mass executions of Iran’s political prisoners, and to hold the Islamic Republic of Iran accountable for its crimes against humanity during the 1980s and, in particular, the summer of 1988.

This grassroots campaign was initiated in October 2007 by the families of the victims, survivors of the atrocities and many conscientious and freedom-seeking political and human rights activists.  Since that date, all the necessary preparatory work to set up an international tribunal has been carried out.  The project was publicly launched at a press conference on the 10th December 2009, on International Human Rights Day.  Two months later the first conference call was held on Thursday 11th February 2010, which outlined the structure and framework of the Tribunal and the “Legal Steering Committee”.  The draft outline was discussed among the jurists for a period of one month and was completed on 11th March 2010.

Based on the draft, the Legal Steering Committee was to be established to prepare the work and the legal proceedings.  Following multilateral international efforts, Mr John Cooper QC, a high profile English barrister, agreed to lead the Committee.  Since this positive development and after two more months of preparatory work, the plenary conference of the Iran Tribunal was held on 1st October 2010.  Fifteen prominent jurists and human rights activists took part from Britain, South Africa, Belgian, Germany, Turkey, USA, Canada, Sweden and France.

The Conference discussed the establishment of the Legal Steering Committee, its format and tasks.  The Committee will be composed of international jurists and activists and is charged with the task of organising the Tribunal, selecting judges, prosecutors and defence teams.  Mr John Cooper QC was made Chairman of the Committee and a group of three was appointed to organise the Committee.

Iran Tribunal
16 October 2010