On the 18th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd June 2012, the first international session of the Iran Tribunal, the Truth Commission was held in London. This session’s objective was to gather facts from those who had direct knowledge of the harrowing events that had occurred in Iran’s prisons and of the manner of the executions of thousands of political prisoners.
During five days, seventy five witnesses were auditioned by a jury composed of international personalities and law expertise known for their actions and moral integrity:
- Eric David, Professor of International Criminal Law, president of the centre for International Law of ULB (ProfessorEmeritus), Belgian.
- William A. Schabas, author, Professor of human rights law and criminal law, the Chairman of the Irish Centre for Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway, Ireland.
- Dr. Louise Asmal,author, sits on South African Board of the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation as well as the FHR, South Africa.
- Maurice Copithorne, Professor of International Law, United Nations Special Representative on the Human Rights Situation in Iran (1995-2002), Canada.
- Anne Burely, AI’s researcher, Special Advisor to the new Secretary General of AI(2002), New Zealand
- Daniel Turp, Professor of International Law, teaching at the Université de Montréal since 1982, Canada.
The report of the Commission was published on 28 July 2012 with all its attachments (including witness statements and summary of the oral testimonies). It runs to 419 pages, of which the main body of the report is the first sixty-six pages.
The Hague Session
Following the completion of the Truth Commission mission, the second international session of the Iran Tribunal took place in The Hague, on 25, 26 and 27 October 2012. It examined Islamic Republic of Iran’s Violations of International Human Rights Law, International Humanitarian Law, and International Criminal Law. The Tribunal heard the evidence of 19 witnesses, of whom three were expert witnesses.
The following personalities and international jurists participated as jury members:
- Johann Kriegler, Retired judge of South Africa’s highest court and Constitutional Court of South Africa.
- Patricia Viseur Sellers, Professor andlegal consultant in international human rights law, international criminal law, humanitarian law, USA.
- Prof. Dr. John Dugard, Judge ad hoc on the International Court of Justice and Special Rapporteur for both the former United Nations Commission on HR and the International Law Commission, South Africa.
- Professor Michael Mansfield QC, President of the Haldane Society of Socialist Lawyers, United Kingdom.
- Margaret Ratner Kunstler, civil rights attorney, author, member of the board of MADRE, an international women’s human rights organization, USA.
- Makau W. Mutua, Professor of International Law, Chairman of the Task Force on the Establishment of a Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation Commission for Kenya.
The Judgment of the Tribunal was published on 5 February 2013. The verdict of the Tribunal indicates that:
- The Islamic Republic of Iran has committed crimes against humanity in the 1980-
1989 periods against its own citizens in violation of applicable international laws;
- The Islamic Republic of Iran bears absolute responsibility for the gross violations
of human rights against its citizens under the International Covenant of Civil and
Political Rights; and,
- Customary International law holds the Islamic Republic of Iran fully accountable
for its systematic and widespread commission of crimes against humanity in Iran
in the 1980-1989 period.
Both sessions of this International People’s Tribunal were a resounding success both for the impact it had on the audience and the media attention it received. The Tribunal’s conclusions were a significant aspect of its success. These conclusions provide a legally grounded body of arguments, constituting a major tool to be used for justice seeking people of Iran.
Following The Hague session, an international final session is foreseen for 15 March 2013 in London, which is followed by presentations of its conclusions.