A People’s Tribunal on the atrocities of the November 2019 protests in Iran will hear hundreds of witnesses in mid-November in an effort to determine the nature of the crimes committed and those who should be held accountable internationally.
On the second anniversary of the November 2019 protests, several family members of victims, eyewitnesses and protestors will stand in front of a panel of judges consisting of internationally renowned lawyers, whether in person or virtually, and testify. Over a hundred more witness statements will also be assessed by the Tribunal. The Tribunal, coined the Aban Tribunal, is held as the international community has failed to take any meaningful action against the perpetrators of the atrocities, not limited to thousands dead, imprisoned, injured or on death row.
Following a call for witnesses in November 2020, thus far, the Counsel has received over 260 responses who have provided countless pieces of evidence, as well as their readiness to testify. The witnesses are from various provinces and cities across Iran. Some were directly involved in the protests, others were bystanders; some were injured themselves, others saw loved ones, friends, or strangers injured by Iranian security forces. Many witnesses prepared to testify were protestors or were arrested and can reveal the nature of the detention centres and prisons. Of these, 145 testimonies have been recorded and will be submitted to the panel of judges alongside other evidence.
“The culture of impunity that has prevailed over the last four decades in the Islamic Republic of Iran, has to end. We do hope that Aban Tribunal and the prosecution of the perpetrators would accelerate such an ending,” says Hamid Sabi, human rights lawyer and a co-counsellor of the Tribunal.
The Counsel has accused 133 people and entities of ‘crimes against humanity and grave human rights violations,’ and has given the chance to submit evidence as their defence. The accusatory testimonies have evidence of the Islamic Republic’s top authority figures being directly involved in the atrocities.
Those accused of such include Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader, Hassan Rouhani, the former President, Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, the Minister of Interior, Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council, Mahmoud Alavi, Minister of Intelligence, and Ebrahim Raisi, the newly elected president and former head of judiciary. The rest of the accused are comprised of governors, commanders of the IRGC and city militias, and prosecutors.
“We remain open to hearing what the leadership of the government has to say and encourage their participation given the allegations. We will remain steadfast in taking a balanced approach to the hearings, in spite of the overwhelming evidence which has been received so far, so that the hearings remain fair,” says Regina Paulose, human rights attorney and a counsellor of Aban Tribunal.
Following the proceedings and testimonies, the panel will issue their judgement on whether the Islamic Republic of Iran’s officials committed crimes against humanity during and in the aftermath of the November 2019 protests.
The Aban Tribunal has been organised by Justice for Iran, Iran Human Rights and ECPM – Together Against the Death Penalty. The organisers have worked closely with those affected by the atrocities and have given the mandate to a group of international lawyers on behalf of the victims.
The People’s Tribunal on the November 2019 protests will be held in London from November 10th-14th, 2021, and is open to the public upon registration if the Covid-19 situation allows. Details on how to register and attend can be found here.
Date: 10th-14th November 2021, 9 am to 5 pm
Location: Church House Westminster, Dean’s Yard, London, SW1P 3NZ
On 15th November 2019, following a sudden spike in fuel prices, nationwide protests broke out across Iran. The protests were largely peaceful, but in some cities, public and private property incurred damage, allegedly due to the protestors, according to IRI authorities. At its peak, from 16th November, the government imposed a near-total shutdown of the internet and conducted a brutal crackdown on protestors. Police, security, and military forces shot and arrested protestors, while the authorities restricted access to information.
Reports of protestors having been killed emerged in the early hours of the protests. Although official figures place the deaths at 255, data gathered by the media and human rights organisations report estimated death tolls of hundreds more.
Find out more: https://abantribunal.com