Iran's Justice Minister Alireza Avaei

Ban Iran’s Justice Minister from addressing UN Human Rights Council over his role in crime against humanity in 1988 massacre

Families of the victims of the 1988 massacre are deeply concerned over the planned participation of the Iranian Justice Minister Alireza Avaei at the High-Level Segment of the 37th Session of the Human Rights Council on 27 February 2018.

Although Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) feels that with its appalling human rights record no high-level delegate from the Islamic Republic of Iran should be welcome to address the HRC, Avaei’s attendance is far more disconcerting.

Avaei was Prosecutor-General and member of the 1988 Death Commission in Dezful, south-west Iran, that extra-legally sent large numbers of political prisoners to their death. At a civil society hearing in Geneva on 1 February 2018, survivors of the massacre and international human rights experts testified about the massacre which under the definition of the Rome Statute constituted a crime against humanity. Avaei’s name was repeatedly brought up over his role in the massacre.

Avaei’s name (Seyyed Ali-Reza AVAEE, a.k.a. Seyyed Alireza Avaie) is included on the European Union’s sanctions list for human rights abuses (COUNCIL IMPLEMENTING REGULATION (EU) No 1002/2011 of 10 October 2011 – The text states: “As President of Tehran Judiciary he has been responsible for human rights violations, arbitrary arrests, denials of prisoners’ rights and increase of executions.

He is also on the list of financial sanctions targets in the UK for his role in human rights violations.

JVMI published his name and background as a member of the 1988 Death Commission in Khuzestan Province in two books – “Inquiry into the 1988 mass executions in Iran” and “The 1988 Massacre in Iran: Evidence of a Crime Against Humanity” – in 2017.

As such, Avaei’s presence before the Human Rights Council would be nothing short of a mockery for the United Nations and would cause irreparable damage to the reputation of the OHCHR. It would send a message to Iranian officials, and indeed all human rights abusers, that the UN is willing to tolerate atrocities and impunity. That this is entirely unacceptable.

Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran (JVMI) therefore urge the OHCHR to act immediately to prevent Iran’s regime from misusing the Human Rights Council’s platform and bar Avaei from the roster of speakers.

Justice for the Victims of the 1988 Massacre in Iran
20 February 2018