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Examining Four Decades of Crimes Against Humanity and Impunity at the 1988 Massacre Conference

Examining Four Decades of Crimes Against Humanity and Impunity at the 1988 Massacre Conference

On Monday, August 21, the conference titled ‘Four Decades of Crime against Humanity and Impunity from Punishment’ took place at the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)’s Headquarters in Auvers-sur-Oise on the northwestern outskirts of Paris.

The event was held to mark the 35th anniversary of the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners by the Iranian regime. Distinguished international judges and jurists were among the participants.

The conference aimed to reaffirm longstanding appeals for a thorough, unbiased, and independent inquiry into what some have labeled as one of the most severe instances of crimes against humanity since World War II. Despite its significance, this case remains unexplored.

The speakers at the conference were as follows:
-Professor Chile Eboe-Osuji: President of the International Criminal Court in The Hague (2021).

-Professor Leila Nadia Sadat: Special Adviser on Crimes Against Humanity to the International Criminal Court Prosecutor from 2012-2023.

-Professor Wolfgang Schomburg: Former Judge of the International Criminal Tribunal for Yugoslavia and the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda.

-Professor William Schabas: President of the United Nations Independent Comittee of Inquiry on the Gaza Strip (2015).

-Professor Vilnas Vadapalas: Judge of the General Court of the European Union (2013).

-Professor Valerius M. Ciucă: Judge of the General Court of the European Union (2010).

-Oleksandra Matviichuk, Ukrainian human rights lawyer and co-recipient of the 2022 Nobel Peace Prize.

-Sir Geoffrey Nice KC: Lead prosecutor at the trial of Slobodan Milošević in The Hague.

-Ms. Sheila Paylan: International human rights lawyer and former SGBV Specialist at UN human rights office for 15 years

-The Rt. Hon. David Jones: MP and former UK Secretary of State for Wales.

-Prof. Alejo Vidal Quadras: President of the In Search of Justice Committee and Vice President of the European Parliament (1999 to 2014).

-Mr. Tahar Boumedra: Director of the Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI).

Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), extended a warm welcome to the guests.
During her address commemorating the 35th anniversary of the 1988 massacre of political prisoners, she asserted that the time had come to dismantle the impunity shielding the regime leaders from prosecution and accountability for their acts of genocide.
She emphasized that potential subjects for prosecution encompass the Iranian regime’s highest echelons, including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, President Ebrahim Raisi, and Judiciary Chief Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei. At the time of the massacre, Khamenei held the presidency, while Raisi’s role in the “death commission” implicated him in the interrogation and sentencing of countless political detainees within Evin and Gohardasht prisons.
These commissions, authorized by a fatwa from the regime’s founder, Ruhollah Khomeini, aimed to eliminate any organized opposition to the theocratic system, framing it as a form of “enmity against God,” a vaguely defined crime punishable by death.
Mrs. Rajavi, urged the international community to broaden its pursuit of accountability following the establishment of the requested Commission of Inquiry. She pressed for the prosecution of Khamenei and Raisi, along with other key figures involved in the 1988 massacre and the orchestration of violence against recent uprisings, particularly those responsible within the IRGC leadership.
Rajavi reiterated, “The supreme leader, president, head of the judiciary, parliamentary speaker, IRGC commanders, and heads of intelligence and security services within the clerical regime have all been implicated in crimes against humanity dating back to the early years of the regime’s rule.”

An excerpt of other parts of the speech, by Mrs. Rajavi follows:

When faced with the choice between abandoning their ideals or facing execution, members of the PMOI chose to stand by their beliefs, marching bravely toward the gallows.
Their courage and determination echoed through chants of defiance, symbolizing their commitment to freedom and resistance.
The 1988 massacre of political prisoners aimed to eliminate the PMOI movement, but it failed to quell the Iranian people’s defiance.
The movement for justice continues as survivors and families seek closure for their loved ones lost during the massacre. This pursuit of justice remains a driving force for Iran’s ongoing struggle against the oppressive regime.
The 1988 massacre’s roots trace back to Ayatollah Khomeini’s fear of the PMOI’s influence. Rejecting Khomeini’s rule and advocating for freedom and equality, the PMOI posed a threat to the regime’s authoritarian control. Khomeini’s order for mass executions targeted PMOI members, considering them apostates.
The victims of the massacre were executed solely due to their unwavering commitment to their beliefs. Khomeini’s “Death Commission” identified prisoners who refused to renounce their stances and executed them without trials. The regime aimed to annihilate the PMOI movement entirely, even denying proper burial for the victims.
The regime’s hostility toward the PMOI persists. The 1988 massacre remains the basis for ongoing oppression, with officials continuing to call for executions of PMOI members.

The regime’s efforts to undermine the PMOI’s rights and freedom extend to current times, evident in recent assaults on PMOI members in Albania.
Despite attempts to suppress them, the PMOI’s martyrs inspire resistance against the regime. The Call for Justice Movement, fueled by the sacrifices of victims from various uprisings, strives to end impunity for regime leaders.
A global pursuit of justice calls for the prosecution of those responsible for crimes against humanity.
The Iranian people remain steadfast, resolute in their quest for justice and freedom. The sacrifices made by generations of brave individuals illuminate the path toward a brighter future. As the struggle continues, the day of reckoning draws nearer, heralding the eventual rise of freedom for the people of Iran.
The full text of Ms. Rajavi’s speech can be accessed at the following link:
https://www.maryam-rajavi.com/en/35th-anniversary-1988massacre/

Other speakers, including The Rt. Hon David Jones, a prominent member of the UK House of Commons and former UK Secretary of State for Wales, and Prof. Alejo Vidal Quadras, former Vice President of the European Parliament, similarly highlighted Tehran’s perceived evasion of accountability, attributing it to sustained international indifference towards issues like the 1988 massacre.
Prof. Vidal Quadras referred to this massacre as a “festering wound,” noting its inextricable link to recent crackdowns on internal dissent, exemplified by the killing of 750 protesters in the previous year and the ongoing surge of executions.

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