1,000 jurists, lawyers launch world-wide appeal to recognize Iranian Mojahedin as a legitimate political movement

 

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Inclusion of PMOI in terror list is not the result of a judicial process and cannot, therefore, be used as a basis for prosecution of its members

 

More than 1,000 lawyers and jurists from 20 countries across the world have issued a joint declaration, calling for the recognition of the People's Mojahedin Organization o Iran(PMOI)  as legitimate political movement. The abridged text of the declaration follows:

 

The Paris Declaration 10 March 2004

 We, the undersigned lawyers and jurists,

-Having reviewed the legal status of members of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI) currently in Iraq;

-Taking note of the comprehensive legal briefs prepared on this issue by Prof. Cherif Bassiouni, the Rt. Hon. Lord Slynn of Hadley, Prof. Jean-Yves de Cara and other eminent scholars and specialists of international law;

Recalling

-Art. 46 of the Hague Regulations, which prohibits confiscation of private property;

-Art.27 of the Fourth Geneva Convention which emphasizes that "protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to respect for their persons, their honor, their family rights, their religious convictions and practices, and their manners and custums";

-Articles 35 and 132 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which guarantees the right of protected persons to leave the territory of the belligerent powers;

-Art 45 of Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits the transfer of a protected person "to a country where he or she may have reason to fear persecution for his or her political opinions or religious beliefs"

-Art 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits "individual or mass forcible transfers as well as  deportation of protected persons from occupied territory to territory of any other country, regardless of their motive";

-Art 147 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which criminalizes the violation of the previous prohibitions;

-Recalling the international law principle of "non refoulement" and Article 3 of the Convention Against Torture, which prohibits the return of a person to a country where he/she might be subjected to torture, and also bearing in mind that this provision is considered as a norm of customary international law, and even of jus cogens, to which all States must conform;

-Noting that the International Committee of the Red Cross has stated that "members of the Mojahedin currently in Iraq are the responsibility of the occupying forces and are therefore under the protections of the Geneva Conventions";

-Noting that united States officials have acknowledged that the PMOI was not a party to recent war in Iraq, and that its members are therefore civilians entitled to the protections stipulated in the Fourth Geneva Convention;

-Taking note that 10 months ago, the PMOI voluntarily handed over all its heavy and light weapons, as well as sidearms, to U.S. forces;

1.      Express our profound concern over the Iranian regime's extensive campaign to secure the forcible extradition and expulsion of the Mojahedin;

2.      Reject as arbitrary and unlawful the 9 December 2003 statement by the Iraqi Governing Council calling for the expulsion of the Mojahedin from Iraq;

3.      Join international human rights organizations in emphasizing that PMOI members would face torture and execution if sent back to Iran;

4.      Affirm that the transfer of PMOI members against their will, especially to countries with policies not compatible with applicable international human rights standards, and which may be transit points for returning PMOI members to Iran, would violate the 1907 Hague Regulations, the Fourth 1949 Geneva Convention, and more generally, international humanitarian law and international human rights law;

5.      Denounce threats against European countries by Iranian officials, such as the statement by the Iranian Minister of Intelligence and Security that countries would face dire repercussion if they were to accept PMOI members;

6.      Call upon the United States and other governments to recognize the PMOI as a political organization whose members shall enjoy asylum in Iraq or in other countries;

7.      Observe that the inclusion of the PMOI in the terrorist lists of the U.S., the EU and some other countries not the outcome of a judicial process and cannot be the basis for the treatment of Mojahidin in Iraq otherwise than under proper legal standards;

8.      Urges the United States government to treat the Mojahedin based in Iraq in the framework of international law, especially the Fourth Geneva Convention and the Convention against Torture, and to respect all of their rights and provide particularly for their protection and safety;

9.      Requests the United States government to respect the ownership of the Mojahedin over their fixed and mobile assets according to the Hague Regulations and Geneva Conventions;

10.  Invites Coalition forces to respect the right to free speech of Camp Ashraf residents and to end unlawful restrictions and the ban on free access to the media by the Mojahedin;

11.  Draw the attention of the U.S. government to the fact that. on the basis of Art.45 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, U.S. forces will continue to be responsible for the security of those residing in Camp Ashraf and thathandling over this responsibility for some or all the residents of Camp Ashraf to a local Iraqi authority after 1 July 2004 or any such date, until such time that the will and the power of the local government to implement international human rights standards are confirmed, would be a blatant violation of the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture and International Humanitarian Law;

12.  Call on the U.S. government to provide Camp Ashraf residents with the right to counsel during formal interviews;

13.   Emphasize that remarks by Camp Ashraf residents in interviews without the presence of counsel cannot be used against them or third parties in subsequent judicial proceedings;

14.  Underscore that initiating any legal proceedings against Camp Ashraf residents, unless in courts in countries which respect internationally recognized standards, in particular the European Union and North America, would be in violation of International Humanitarian Law;

15.  Call on the International Committee of the Red Cross to discharge its mandate as the custodian of International Humanitarian Law in this case and to become actively involved, including through the presence of representatives in Camp Asshraf to directly supervise the current process and to report any violation of rights;

16.   Urge the United Nations Secretary General and all UN member states to take unequivocal and decisive positions against the pressures by the Iranian regime to expel or extradite Mojahedin members so as avert a humanitarian catastrophe.

end

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