Human rights chief: Trump is the main convict for Gen. Soleimani assassination

January 3, 2022 - 22:8

TEHRAN — Speaking at a talk show on state TV on Sunday night, Kazem Gharibabadi, deputy Judiciary chief for international affairs and the director of the Human Rights Headquarters said that Iran has identified the main perpetrator of the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani.

“The main perpetrator of the assassination of Martyr Soleimani is known. Of the approximately 125 suspects and convicts identified, most were United States government officials. In addition, some other countries provided logistical support, and some companies were involved in this criminal terrorist act,” he said. 

Gharibabadi added that the goal of Iran is to cooperate with the Iraqi government as a country where the crime took place, to identify all the perpetrators of this terrorist crime and bring them to justice. 

He noted that most of the convicts and suspects are U.S. government officials.

The human rights chief stated that at the top of the 125 suspects and convicts in this case is Donald Trump, the former president of the United States. 

“A president who admits violation of all international laws and proudly says that he committed and carried out this terrorist operation is very clear evidence that identifies who is the main culprit. This action is completely contrary to international law, human rights and other obligations of the U.S. government,” he noted. 

Gharibabadi continued by saying that in prosecution and judicial proceedings, the confession of the former U.S. president is a very important legal document.

And of course, he said, since other people were involved in this action, documents and investigations must be done in full, as the assassination is now designated as a criminal case. 

“It is in the process of being reviewed and will be completed soon,” he noted.

On a question why the court was established in Iran and not in the same country where the crime took place, Gharibabadi said, “There is no doubt that the Iraqi government has the authority to investigate this crime as a scene of the crime, and this is not only the demand of the Iranian government and the people, but also the demand of the Iraqi people and the world’s public opinion.”

Joint cooperation with Iraq will not preclude legal action by Iran

The official pointed out that the Iraqi government has filed a case in this regard and a joint cooperation is underway between Iran and Iraq in this criminal investigation, but martyr Haj Qassem Soleimani, as the flag bearer of the fight against terrorism, is a citizen of Iran. Therefore, he noted, Iran is authorized to take legal action against the perpetrators.

“We are competent under the Islamic Penal Code to be able to deal with the crimes committed against our citizens by any country, and this has a legal basis. Also, the law passed by the parliament allows Iran to take reciprocal measures as well as legal and judicial proceedings, so there is a completely legal and judicial basis in this regard,” he elaborated. 

Emphasizing that joint pursuits with the Iraqi government and judiciary do not prevent the Islamic Republic from pursuing legal action, he said that this case is a serious criminal case. The U.S. government has admitted that this terrorist act violates international law and its treaty obligations, Gharibabadi remarked. 

“Of course, it has made some claims to justify its action, none of which are credible. Therefore, even in our plans, we should not limit ourselves to the judicial and legal prosecution of this crime in the courts of Iran and Iraq,” he asserted, hinting that Iran will take action in international courts as well.  

Gharibabadi went on to say that Iran must use other capacities as well, because this is not a simple murder and it is a terrorist act that has very complex and wide dimensions.

“If we want to examine its effects from a legal point of view, there are many other capacities that we must use them,” he noted.

Legitimate defense or preemptive action by U.S. is rejected 

Regarding the rights that were violated with the assassination of General Soleimani and the criminal act of the United States and other governments in the assassination, the human rights chief said that the argument for legitimate self-defense or preemptive action by the Americans is baseless and rejected as the Article 51 of the United Nations Charter states that armed attack or armed aggression must take place in order to justify legitimate self-defense.

Giving an example, Gharibabadi noted that in 1986, the International Court of Justice in the Nicaraguan case ruled that even the possibility of an armed attack could not be used as an excuse for legitimate defense.

“Legally, Iran and the United States were not in a state of armed conflict, so the United States can in no way rely on legitimate defense or preemptive action,” said Gharibabadi, pointing that the 1973 Convention is a very important convention because crimes against internationally protected persons can be prosecuted and criminal liability of states is raised.

Gharibabadi, Iran’s former ambassador to international organizations, including The Hague-based OPCW (Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna, added it should be noted that General Soleimani was on a civilian mission and was carrying the message of Iran to the Iraqi government officials to resolve regional disputes.

“This assassination could be an example of a crime against humanity, because armed action was taken against a group of people who were carrying out a civilian mission. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights also refer to the right to life, and the implication is that the right to life cannot be taken away arbitrarily,” he elaborated.

Countries and individuals involved in the assassination are all responsible

Noting that countries, companies or individuals that supported or involved in the assassination are all responsible, the human rights chief said that the judiciary representatives have been sent to 9 countries, including the U.S., regarding the role of individuals and companies in the assassination of the top general. 

“Entities and individuals involved in the assassination were investigated so that we could increase our pressure to hold these countries responsible through political and diplomatic channels so that we can get the necessary answers to the questions of the judiciary,” he noted. 

Gharibabadi added that the U.S. government and officials are at the top of the list of convicts in this case.

Judicial decisions have been issued against these countries, and no country, individual or company involved in this case should be immune from questioning, he remarked. 

On why some countries and international organizations reacted passively to this criminal act, Gharibabadi said, “We are a nation that was exposed to all kinds of pressures and threats after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, because the Islamic Republic of Iran will stand on its own two feet and stand against the system of domination and arrogance, which is the basis of all the threats, sanctions and pressures that we face.”

Governing international bodies exercise double standards

The human rights chief stressed that unfortunately the system governing international organizations is an unjust one.

“We have more than 17,000 victims of assassination, but the terrorists who committed such crimes live comfortably in European countries! In the case of the assassination of martyr Soleimani, hundreds or thousands of correspondences and meetings of our diplomatic community with officials of various countries and international organizations in New York, Geneva and Vienna in connection with this case have been recorded and numerous meetings have been held,” he explained.

He said except for some countries that have denounced or condemned this terrorist act, unfortunately Iran has not yet seen a clear condemnation by international organizations and this is because double standard is dominant in the world.

Joint investigative committee formed between Iran and Iraq

The judiciary official stated that a joint investigation committee has been formed between the two Iranian and Iraqi judicial bodies. 

“So far, this committee has held two rounds of talks. The third round is scheduled to take place in Baghdad in about a month.” 

Gharibabadi noted that the two judicial bodies of Iran and Iraq issued two joint statements. “The focal point of the statements is that both sides considered this action a war crime, and the exchange of proof is also on the agenda of these two bodies.”

He elaborated that in the Iranian judicial system, accusations have been leveled against suspects, including acts of premeditated murder, terrorist acts, and acts against national security.

In conclusion, Gharibabadi said that General Soleimani has done great services not only to Iran but also to the countries of the region and the international community by creating peace and stability and getting rid of terrorists. 

“Now we are talking about damages for this action. No amount can be determined to compensate for this criminal act because it is not materially measurable. One of the points that we must consider in legal, judicial and political pursuits is not only the assassination of martyr Soleimani by the United States, but also America must be held responsible for the actions of terrorist groups after the martyrdom of Soleimani and his companions in the region,” he said. 

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