A tribunal on Iran’s mass execution of an estimated 20,000 political prisoners after the country’s 1979 Islamic Revolution is due to end today in The Hague.
Although it has no judicial authority, the aim is to force the United Nations to set up its own investigation and bring those responsible to justice.
One of the Tribunal’s prosecutors, Payam Akhavan said a representative from Tehran had been asked to attend:
“We did send official representation to the Islamic Republic, to invite it to defend itself, but we had no response.”
Some of the testimonials given in evidence were harrowing. Witness Malakeh Mostafaei told what had happened to her family:
“Nine members of my family were killed: five brothers – four of them were executed. Another was killed in a conflict. The same thing happened to my husband and three cousins.”
According to Amnesty International 4,500 teenagers were killed. Many of the perpetrators are said to be in positions of power in today’s regime.
Sir Geoffrey Nice QC explained the value of the tribunal:
“If you have a good record of what happened, then it’s much more difficult for people in the future to write politics on the basis of it not having happened; of abusing history and writing out from history things that are there.”
Iran has acknowledged people were executed in its prisons after the Revolution but claims the killings were carried out legally according to international law.