Aban Tribunal is ‘urgent and necessary’ to give justice and accountability for the victims’ families, says Justice for Iran
An international People’s Tribunal, the Aban Tribunal, to investigate atrocities that took place in Iran exactly one year ago has been established as an initiative of Justice for Iran, Iran Human Rights and the world coalition Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort (ECPM) on behalf of victims’ families and protestors.
The Tribunal provides a mandate to a group of renowned international lawyers on behalf of the victims’ community and the public to investigate human rights violations by Iran during a wave of national protests in November 2019, resulting in the deaths of hundreds of unarmed protestors.After hearing evidence and deliberation, the panel will determine whether crimes under international law have been committed by Iranian state forces and paramilitaries during the protests.
The Tribunal will consist of co-counsel, headed by Hamid Sabi, the London-based human rights lawyer who served on the China Tribunal, Iran Tribunal and ongoing Uyghur Tribunal, and a panel of up to seven independent members that will convene in early 2021. The Aban Tribunal – named after the month in the official calendar of Iran when the atrocities occurred – will receive evidence from victims and expert witnesses during three days of hearings.
The Tribunal’s Judgement will be announced in April 2021.
Announcing the establishment of the Tribunal today in London, on the anniversary of the protests, Shadi Sadr, Executive Director of Justice for Iran said:
“The establishment of this Tribunal is urgent and necessary.When the international community turns a blind eye to such atrocities, those who know what happened have a moral responsibility to bring about justice and accountability.”
Mahmood Amiri-Moghaddam, the Executive Director of Iran Human Rights, said:
“This tribunal will contribute to bringing about justice and,hopefully, prevent such atrocities from being repeated. It sends a message to the victims and their families that theyhave not been forgotten. It also sends a strong message to those responsible for the atrocities that they are being watched and one day will be held accountable for the crimes they’ve committed.”
Mr Hamid Sabi, human rights lawyer who will act as co-counsel at the Tribunal, said:
“Those who demonstrated are either in prison or their families put under terrible pressure. Those who were killed were denied funerals. Some 4,000 prisoners are in prisons because of these atrocities, and 15 of them will likely receive a death sentence. Through the establishment of the Tribunal, we want the world to know what ordinary citizens are facing and urge the international community to pressure the Iranian regime to stop these atrocities.”
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, the British barrister who served as Prosecutor at the trial of Slobodan Milosevic at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia is supporting the establishment of the Aban Tribunal. Sir Geoffrey said:
“This Tribunal will resolve – swiftly but fairly – the truth of what are said to be terrible crimes by an over powerful state.
“People’s Tribunals fill gaps in knowledge and information,created because national and international bodies fear to tell the truth – in the case of Iran always fearing to reveal to the public what the Iranian Regime is known to do. This Tribunal will fill such a gap and leave for use by bodies able now or in due course to deliver justice. It will also set a proper historical record of what happened in November 2019.”
The families of two victims of the Iranian crackdown, Bahman (Reza) Jafari and Ershad Rahmanian, joined the official announcement today and welcomed the establishment of the Tribunal.
Computer science graduate Reza Jafari, 28, is believed to have been on his way to work at a car repair shop in the town of Shiraz, in south-central Iran, when he was shot four times. Dina Jafari, his mother’s cousin who lives in Nottingham, UK, said:
“Reza was an extraordinarily calm, quiet and gentle boy, full of life. He was an artist and sculptor and had many dreams. After the killing of Reza, the security forces visited his family, offering to designate him as a martyr. But no, they killed our young man; our kid is not a martyr. The only thing we expect from this Tribunal is to act as a just tribunal and to do justice for our young man, for all young men.”
Speaking from Oslo, Norway, Kamyar Admadi, whose cousin Ershad Rahmanian, a 24-year-old OR Anaesthetics graduate who was found tortured and shot after participating in the demonstrations last year in Marivan, said:
“Ershad was a kind young man who loved poetry and literature and classical music. Security agents threatened his family many times to keep quiet and say that their son had committed suicide. Our family expects the People’s Tribunal to reveal the actual murderer of our young man, and of other young men.”
The Tribunal follows the findings of rigorous investigations conducted by the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Iran, the UN Secretary–General, and organisations such as Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Justice for Iran and Iran Human Rights that provideparamount evidence on grave human rights violations committed by state forces during the protests, and the absolute impunity the perpetrators have enjoyed. Despite this, the Iranian authorities have refused to appropriately investigate the killings and provide answers to the victims’ families demands for truth and justice. Instead, the families have had to settle for proposals of money and ‘martyrdom’ while being threatened and intimidated if they attempted to pursue their complaints.