The following is the text of remarks by Prof. Stefan Trechsel at an online conference by international human rights experts and NGOs on 28 February 2022, appealing to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet to launch an inquiry into the 1988 massacre of political prisoners in Iran:
Dear friends, I am raising my voice to join you in your call for justice over the 1988 massacre in Iran and to declare my solidarity.
Why do I do this? The promotion of justice has been the main topic of my working life. I have acted as a public prosecutor in my own country. I have acted on the European and international level as a member of the European Commission of Human Rights and of the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia.
Our help was regularly called for by men and women who alleged to have been directly, or indirectly by individuals close to them, victims of grave violations of human rights.
In the case of murder, of course, full restoration is not possible, but some degree of justice can be achieved through serious investigation of the facts, identification of the perpetrators, and conviction of the letter and inflicting proportional sanctions if found guilty.
THE ICTY was, inter alia, called into life in order to bring conciliation to the countries in the Balkans. Unfortunately, this has not really worked very well. But the work of the tribunal has brought a great satisfaction to the victims of mass and other serious crimes.
I will never forget the tears of men and many women in front of our tribunal when the responsible criminal actors had been convicted and sentenced to long sentences of imprisonment. This has shown that for the victims, international justice and the creation of an investigation and of punishment for the guilty has been of a great value and a very important element in bringing a little bit of justice in this unjust world.
All the best in your endeavors.
Prof. Stefan Trechsel was President of the European Commission of Human Rights (1995–1999) and Judge at the UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) (2006-2013)