At a press conference at Church House in London on Thursday, January 27, 2022, Tahar Boumedra (center), Director of the Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Iran Massacre (JVMI), accompanied by Struan Stevenson, Coordinator of the Campaign for Iran Change (CIC), and Baroness Verma, former UK government minister and Member of the House of Lords, explained the unprecedented international effort by 463 current and former UN officials and rapporteurs, as well as some prominent European political figures, international NGOs, academic institutions and human rights and legal experts to condemn the 1988 genocide and defend human rights in Iran.
They called for the Iranian government’s human rights case to be heard and demanded an end to impunity for the Iranian regime officials.
The signatories called on the UN Human Rights Council to recognize the 1988 massacre as genocide and a crime against humanity.
The 462 called on the United Nations to immediately begin its investigation into the massacre and to revoke instantly the Iranian regime officials’ impunity so that they could be prosecuted and punished for the mass executions and the enforced disappearances of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, which makes it up a continuing crime against humanity.
“Human rights experts believe that the extrajudicial executions in 1988 in Iran amount to crimes against humanity and genocide,” the signatories said.
Human rights experts blame the delay in auditing the Iranian regime, while this encourages the regime to continue its crimes against humanity in Iran.
The statement said that the massacre of 1988 followed a fatwa issued by Khomeini stating: “As the [People’s Mojahedin (PMOI or MEK)] do not believe in Islam … and as they are waging war on God … It is decreed that those who are in prison throughout the country and remain steadfast in their support for the [PMOI] are waging war on God and are condemned to execution.”
Referring to Khomeini’s fatwa, Mr. T Boumedra said, “All of you know that this situation of the massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners started by the issuance of a fatwa of the former Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. He issued a fatwa to eradicate all the opposition. And he was targeting in particular the members of the Mujahedeen’s organization. So that over 30000 people were massacred. And they were victims of this fatwa.”
He further emphasized, “this crime, no doubt, is a crime against humanity and a crime of genocide. It’s been described as such by the United Nations, independent experts and by very notorious lawyers, who are specialized, and who had already acted in other commissions of inquiry on genocide and hate crimes against humanity.”
Reminding the United Nations of its responsibility, he added: “Now we cannot accept that the United Nations pronounced itself on such very grave issue and then leave it to the oblivion. Not bring its acts in conformity with its declarations.
Baroness Verma rejected the impunity enjoyed by the perpetrators of the 1988 Massacre, especially Ebrahim Raisi. “No government should tolerate the impunity enjoyed by this current President, President Ebrahim Raisi, on his part in the massacre. All governments should publicly use the fora it has at the UN to push for an inquiry that would hold him and others accountable. “It needs to make amends for the decades of inaction that have only fueled the culture of impunity that now exists in Iran.,” she underscored.
Speaking about the importance of this letter, Mr. Stevenson said, “The UN Human Rights Council cannot ignore this. They cannot ignore this. This letter today is absolutely fundamental to bring an end to the suffering of the survivors of the horrible massacre of over 300 political prisoners in 1988, almost all of whom were supporters of the Mojahedin Khalq, the People’s Mojahedin of Iran. Now, today’s letter should bring the perpetrators to account.”
He warned the officials who were involved in the massacre, especially Ebrahim Raisi the regime’s president, and added, “So, serving presidents are not immune. And he had better be warned Ebrahim Raisi, if he sets foot, perhaps anywhere in the west, particularly after today’s explosive letter signed by these 463 experts, he could face imminent arrest and his impunity will end.”