In the summer of 1988 the Islamic Republic of Iran summarily executed a large number of political prisoners without any due process. The estimated numbers of victims rank between 4000 to 7000. This was the climax of a massive elimination process from 1981 to 1988, under which around 20,000 dissidents disappeared, either dying under torture or being executed by firing squads. At the petition of the families of the victims, the Iran Tribunal has been set up to investigate and try these allegations.
Prominent jurists and human rights activists participated in the Plenary Session of the Iran Tribunal which was held on 1st October 2010. The Plenary Session appointed Professor John Cooper QC as the Chairman of the Steering Committee. The International Legal Steering Committee of the Iran Tribunal was formed later on 17th December 2010.
The Steering Committee is chaired by Professor John Cooper QC and comprises as its members, Professor Kader Asmal, Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Professor Richard Falk, Professor Payam Akhavan, Dr Nancy Hormachea and Dr Hedayat Matin-Daftary. Professor Eric David, an expert in people’s tribunals, contributes in as advisory role.
The Steering Committee is charged with the task of organising the Tribunal, selecting judges, prosecutors and defence teams and the Jury. It is expected that the Tribunal will commence the trial towards the end of 2011. The Steering Committee held its first meeting in London on February 5, 2011.
Other prominent jurists who have supported and joined the Iran Tribunal are: German Professor Norman Paech, British Professor Michael Mansfield, German Professor Norman Paech, Canadian Professor David Kilgour, Iranian-Canadian lawyer Mr.Kaveh Shahrooz, Iranian-American lawyer Ms. Mina Litvak, Canadian lawyer Ms. Pam Shame, UK-based Iranian lawyer Mr. Hamid Sabi and German Lawyer Mr. Stefan Kirchner.
John Cooper QC, the Chairman of the Steering Committee stated:
“The work of the Steering Committee in creating, advising and facilitating the establishment of the Iran Tribunal will be vital if due process is to be observed at the future hearings. We are determined that the Tribunal discovers the truth about what happened to thousands of Iranian people and that justice is finally done.”