Amb. Zorica Marić-Djordjević (Montenegro), Special Representative of Montenegro to the UN Human Rights Council 2013-2015, addressed the third day of the Free Iran World Summit on July 3, 2023. The summit was under the title: Prosecute Iran’s Regime Leaders for Crimes Against Humanity, Genocide.
Amb. Zorica Maric-Djordjević: UN Must Step Up In Confronting Persistent Impunity In Iran
The script of the full speech of Ms. Zorica Maric-Djordjević follows:
Thank you so much. Thank you. And let me first thank the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, Madame Maryam Rajavi.
The survivors of brutal prosecutions, families, and friends of the victims of the 1988 massacre, their sobering testimonies today moved all of us. I want to greet the distinguished audience, activists and journalists, my dear friends and colleagues from the Human Rights Council and other walks of life. My heartfelt greetings to those following this conference abroad, especially to brave Iranians in Albania, bordering country to Montenegro, my country of origin. Ditmir to all of you in Albania.
My special sympathy and condolences and heartfelt feelings for those 30,000 lives that vanished. As a daughter of a political prisoner in former Yugoslavia, I feel very emotional today and I’m sure that my father, who was lucky enough to come back after four years and pass away surrounded by love and family, is walking, marching today with those 30,000 and more victims that are carrying the light of hope for the future of Iran.
We are on the eve of the 35th anniversary or commemoration of the 1988 massacre. And in the light of the continued impunity of the regime in Iran.
Dear friends, as leader Rajavi mentioned many years ago, it is impossible to break the seal of impunity of religious tyranny without changing the regime in Tehran. 43 years after its establishment, the Islamic Republic of Iran lacks legitimacy amongst Iranians at home and in the international arena.
The people did not choose their leaders through free and fair elections. Since the authorities are neither transparent, accountable nor competent, Iran is facing a high level of corruption and human rights violation on the one side and a system that cannot provide the bare minimums for its people on the other.
Internationally, the Islamic Republic of Iran is considered a threat to regional stability and world peace and its leaders face isolation and sanctions. The world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism has been a greedy and ungrateful political, diplomatic, and business partner. In light of some appeasement policies, Tehran carried out dozens of terrorist attacks across Europe and continued funding militant groups in the Middle East, threatening not only Western values but also the universal declaration of human rights and all that humanity stands for.
Let us call from this podium the regime in Tehran to repeal Fatwa because they are still operating under that rule, to repeal the Fatwa and to release all political prisoners. Let us call the Secretary General of the UN and the High Commissioner of the Human Rights Council to request the regime in Tehran to repeal the fatwa and release all political prisoners without delay.
Dear friends, more than half of the current Iran citizens were not born, were not alive at the time of the 1979 revolution and many were not born at the time of the 1988 massacre.
Now entering the fifth decade in the power of the brutal barbaric regime in Tehran, the international community is facing a challenging period. How to support and transmit the commitments of the UN Declaration of Human Rights at the 75th anniversary of that declaration for this new generation of Iran on the rise that is demanding accountability and changes in the country.
Domestic avenues for accountability remain weak and ineffective, including past and present violations in the context of recent protests. While there have been some investigations into several incidents, most resulted in inconclusive, confusing outcomes with very few leading to the accountability of alleged perpetrators.
Despite the many efforts of human rights defenders and civil society organizers to document these crimes and advocate for accountability of those responsible, justice, and truth for the victims, the Iranian regime has never acknowledged the facts of admitting its involvement in the 1988 massacre or any of the continuous brutal killings and barbarian executions of the regime.
Many perpetrators have remained in high positions of power today and no trials have been held in Iran. Some of those have not only been prosecuted for their crimes but have even been glorified as national heroes who fought against terrorism.
The only success was a Swedish court sanctioning former Iranian official Hamid Noury in May 2022 to life in prison over crimes related to 1988 massacres under the principle of universal jurisdiction. And congratulations again to lawyer Kenneth Lewis who really explained and elaborated what kind of unique process and successful process that was.
During the recent Iranian democratic opposition annual International Women’s Day event for 2023, Mrs. Rajavi has said that not simply women’s rights to either veil or not veil are questioned, but the right of women to make choices about their personal life, it is the right of women to be able to choose their leaders and I would add here today, it is the right of women to be the leaders of future Iran.
Ladies and gentlemen, my speech was full of accountability, mechanism, judicial, non-judicial, all kinds of recommendations and evaluations from different human rights council rapporteur statements and findings but let me just finish by saying that the 30th of August is the international day of the victims of enforced disappearance.
So, in two months, we will have an important day to remember all that disappeared, that there was a cut of possibilities and full potential of human life. More than a human rights violation against the individual, enforced disappearance has frequently been used to spread terror within society and this is what’s going on in Iran. Hundreds of thousands have vanished during conflicts or periods of repression in at least 85 countries worldwide and Iran stands at the forefront of this list.
We want to correct that. We want to have Iran so that all people can manage their everyday life and well-being and they can accomplish their full potential of their life and their talents.
Let’s send a united message from this table to the High Commissioner for Human Rights on the occasion of August 30, the international day of victims of enforced disappearance. It is high time to establish this long-awaiting institution, the Independent International Commission for Inquiry with an international mandate to clarify the fate and whereabouts of missing and forcible disappeared persons in Iran’s massacre in 1988 and all disappeared in continuous brutal killing and torture in Iran these days.
Establishing the truth is essential for victims, survivors, families, and society to move forward. As recently as June 19, Syria’s UN expert urged General Assembly to establish a human rights body to meaningfully address the tragedy of missing and forcible disappeared persons in Syria after 12 years.
Iran’s massacre in 1988 and [its] continuing violation of applicable laws deserve similar action from the United Nations. The upcoming oral report of the fact-finding mission for Iran must be just a step towards a more robust mechanism of accountability. UN Human Rights Council must not stay silent and must step up in confronting the persistent impunity in Iran and any state or government at any time.
I thank you very much. Thank you very much.