Iran: UN expert welcomes historic verdict in universal jurisdiction case

GENEVA (15 July 2022) – The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Javaid Rehman, today welcomed the conviction of an Iranian official by a Swedish court for his involvement in summary executions and enforced disappearances against political dissidents in 1988 .

Hamid Nouri was arrested at a Stockholm airport in 2019 and charged with war crimes for his involvement in the mass execution and torture of political prisoners in Iran in 1988 based on an order issued by Iran’s Supreme Leader. Iran, Ayatollah Khomeini. At the time, Nouri was a prosecutor and head of the prison. Civil society organizations estimate that several thousand political prisoners were executed.

The court found Hamid Nouri guilty of war crimes and murder and sentenced him to life imprisonment.

“The process and verdict in Sweden is an important and historic step forward in the pursuit of truth and justice for a dark chapter in Iranian history. It is also a clear signal that denial, despite substantial evidence, and impunity can no longer be tolerated,” Rehman said.

The Swedish principle of universal jurisdiction allows its courts to try a person for serious charges such as murder or war crimes, regardless of where the alleged offenses took place.

“I urge other states to undertake similar investigations and prosecutions of serious human rights violations in Iran using the principles of universal jurisdiction. There is a serious lack of accountability for past and present gross violations of human rights law, and domestic courts in other states play a fundamental role in filling this void,” the expert said.

“Along with my predecessors and colleagues in the special procedures, I have repeatedly called for accountability for the summary executions and enforced disappearances of 1988 and have sought to engage with the authorities in this regard,” said the Special Rapporteur.

“However, the events continue to be denied by the Iranian authorities. I hope this verdict is a first step towards full truth, justice and compensation for the victims, their families and civil society organizations who persist in their demands for justice”.

Mr. Javaid Rehman was named third Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran since the reinstatement of the mandate in July 2018. Mr Rehman is Professor of International Human Rights Law and Muslim Constitutionalism at Brunel University London. Mr. Rehman teaches human rights law and Islamic law and continues to publish widely on the topics of international human rights law, Islamic law and constitutional practices of Muslim-majority states.

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