30 October, 2012

The Iran Tribunal - The Hague 25-27 October 2012

On 26th May 2011, this blog published ~ Massacre of prisoners in Iran - "Do you think we should have given them sweets?" - Iran Tribunal.

A post on The Justice [ ] Gap blog preceded an independent tribunal hearing in The Hague (held 25th - 27th October) which examined the massacre by the Ayatollah Khomeini’s regime of some 20 to 30,000 political prisoners, men and women, in Iran in the 1980s.  About 4,500 people, many of them teenagers and from leftwing groups, died in the summer of 1988 alone, according to Amnesty International.   The killings have been largely ignored by the west, unlike the mass killings perpetrated in places like Srebrenica, Rwanda, or the Chile of Pinochet.  The Islamic Republic of Iran was invited to participate in the hearing but has to date refused to engage with the Tribunal process.

See the Tribunal's Press Release of 15th October.

The Tribunal follows on from a Truth Commission process which issued a report in September 2012.  The report is 357 pages and is exceptionally harrowing.  The report provides in detail the manner of arrest, the brutal tortures that were carried out by the regime in the Iranian prisons and mass executions between 1981 and 1988.  The report further investigates the disastrous impact of these brutalities on the families of the victims and the survivors of the torture and imprisonment.

The Tribunal is to hand down a verdict in November - see Payvand Iran News 27th October 2012 - Iran Tribunal Closing Statement at The Hague

19 October, 2012

Fourth Baha Mousa Memorial Lecture - Iraq - Unlawful treatment of detainees "institutional"

Baha Mousa
The Torture Convention:

The United Kingdom is a signatory to the United Nations Convention against Torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (the "torture convention").  The terms of the Convention are clear enough:

 Article 2
  1. Each State Party shall take effective legislative, administrative, judicial or other measures to prevent acts of torture in any territory under its jurisdiction.
  2. No exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.
  3. An order from a superior officer or a public authority may not be invoked as a justification of torture. 
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture spoke at Chatham House on 10th September - "Enforcing the absolute prohibition against torture." and also note the comments at International Law Bureau