UN should help end impunity in Iran and throughout the world

By: Liverpool Daily NewsPublished: 1 year ago


0 Likes   0 Dislikes

In 1996, on behalf of the Spanish President Allende Foundation, I filed a criminal complaint in Spain, under the principles of universal jurisdiction, against Chilean Gen. Augusto Pinochet and other leaders of his military junta.The charges detailed genocide, systematic torture, politically motivated killings and terrorism. The defendants were then enjoying absolute impunity in Chile.I led a multinational team of lawyers in prosecuting those officers in absentia for more than 4,500 cases of murder and forced disappearance, and for the torture of more than 30,000 survivors of Pinochet’s years as dictator of Chile (1973-1990). I was in Santiago’s presidential palace, Palacio de la Moneda, when the coup took place in 1973 and saw Pinochet’s crimes first-hand. The executions and torture perpetrated in Chile remain fresh in everyone’s memories.executed an estimated 30,000 political prisoners and advocates for democratic governance, mostly members of the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). On the request of the foundation and a Spanish court of justice, Pinochet was arrested in London in 1998 to be extradited and put on trial. Later, he was arrested and indicted in Chile.The United States (under the Clinton administration) did not object. Since then, impunity has ended and hundreds of officers of the Chilean state have been judged and condemned for their crimes against humanity. Many of the leading perpetrators of similar crimes in Iran remain alive; some even hold prominent positions in politics. This means that they still could be arraigned in an international criminal court, if the United Nations takes the necessary measures under the charter. In the interest of encouraging that outcome, I participated in a civil society hearing on Feb.1 in Geneva, at which a mock indictment related to the 1988 Iranian massacre was presented and discussed. The proceedings included eyewitness testimony from former Iranian political prisoners and their families, as well as expert opinion from fellow human rights experts including former United Nations judges. It is my hope, of course, that the Feb.1 hearing will prove to be a precursor to more formal proceedings by the United Nations. If these proceedings take place, it will be a step toward long overdue legal accountability for some of the world’s worst and most organized violators of human rights, and an encouragement to reduce impunity for crimes of this nature in other countries. Formal trials will likely help to bring some closure to those families that still have not identified the final resting places of their loved ones 30 years later. Additionally, it is my hope that newfound attention for the 1988 massacre and the subsequent crimes of Iran’s political/religious system will help to reiterate the message that was previously sent by my colleagues and me through our prosecution of the Pinochet crimes. The essence of that message is that, while some officers may enjoy impunity as they commit human

Related Videos