Wednesday, 13 November 2013, 6:00PM
Barnard's Inn Hall

The Iran Tribunal

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC, Shokoufeh Sakhi

Many innocent Iranians suffered terrible atrocities and death in the regime of the Ayatollahs in the 1980s. The UN failed to record the crimes in a formal way at any court or tribunal. Groups from around the world established an informal tribunal that prepared a report in 2013, publicly condemning the Iranian regime of grave crimes. Work of this tribunal provides a further example of how citizens dissatisfied with the performance of international institutions can deal with difficult problems in faraway places.

At this lecture there were accounts of the nature of the torturing of individuals with a contribution from an imprisoned victim explaining how it was possible to maintain sanity and to survive in circumstances where many would succumb.

The was the second in a series of six lectures. The next next free public lecture in this series will be on Law as a New Religion and Other Topics.

 
Speaker_GeoffreyNice_370x370.jpg

Sir Geoffrey Nice QC has practised as a barrister since 1971.  He worked at the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia – the ICTY – between 1998 and 2006 and led the prosecution of Slobodan Milošević, former President of Serbia.   Much of his work since has been connected to cases before the permanent International Criminal Court – Sudan, Kenya, Libya – or  pro bono for victims groups – Iran, Burma, North Korea – whose cases cannot get to any international court.  He works for several related NGO’s and lectures and commentates in the media in various countries on international war crimes issues.  He has been a part-time judge since 1984 sitting at the Old Bailey and has sat as judge in other jurisdictions, tribunals and inquiries.  Between 2009 and 2012 he was Vice-Chair of the Bar Standards Board, the body that regulates barristers.

The six free public law lectures for 2013/14 Sir Geoffrey delivered as Gresham Professor of Law included four lectures on how legal process can fail the citizen in armed conflict, one explaining advocacy work in courts, and a final lecture covering recent legal changes.

The first five of his 2012-13 lectures dealt with issues arising from the work of international criminal courts and tribunals.  The sixth contrasted the practice of law in international criminal courts where there is little or no effective regulation of lawyers and judges with the present working practices of the English Bar.

Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC continues his Law series in the 2015/16 academic year, entitled 'Law and Lawyers - not all bad?'.

Professor Nice's previous lecture series are as follows:

2015/16 Law and Lawyers - not all bad?
2014/15 From Human Rights to Srebrenica
2013/14 Law Lectures by Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC
2012/13 International Criminal Courts

All of Professor Nice's past Gresham lectures can be accessed here.

Current Gresham Professor of Law

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shokoufeh-sakhi

Shokoufeh Sakhi is a former prisoner of conscience who suffered imprisonment for eight years under the regime of the Ayatollahs in Iran during the 1980s. She testified as a part of the Iran Tribunal and is currently a PhD candidate in Canada.

Shokoufeh Sakhi was in high school during the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and she joined the student dissident movement a few years later. In July 1982 she was detained for supporting the Marxist-Leninist Razmandegan Organization and was transferred to the custody of the court Unity Committee where she was interrogated, put on trial, and handed a 5-year sentence. In November of that year she was first transferred to Evin prison followed by another transfer to Ghezel Hezar prison. In April 1983 she was transferred along with 100 other female prisoners to solitary confinement referred to as “Haj Davood coffins” where she was kept for 8.5 months. In Ghezel Hezar, inmates were confined to solitary cells that were the equivalent of grave like chambers.

In 1984 Shokoufeh Sakhi was transferred with the group of prisoners to Ward 7 in Evin prison and the following year she was transferred to Gohardasht prison. In 1987 when the sentence for Shokoufeh Sakhi was over, instead of being granted release, she and 2 other prisoners were transferred to solitary confinement in Evin prison while awaiting yet another court hearing called Freedom Court. After the hearing that was presided by Judge Mobasheri, the court declared that Sakhi was not reformed and in order to be released, she must make a public televised confession. Sakhi refused to accept this stipulation and the court dictated that she would receive an additional prison term unless she repents. Due to Sakhi’s rejection of the court’s condition for her release (conducting an interview and writing a letter of repent), her prison term was increased to 8 years.

In 1990 Shokoufeh Sakhi was granted furlough along with a number of other prisoners. She escaped to Canada with her 11-year old son where she was granted political asylum. Sakhi is currently a Political Science PhD. candidate at York University in Canada and she does research work centered on political resistance. Her research is centered on the possibility of a political resistance that does not devolve into that which it resists, addressing the problem of the increasing reduction of the late modern subject into a being directed toward personal material survival and the corresponding loss of capacity to effectively resist the totalising system of capitalist modernity, comprehended as a tendency to produce those ‘individuals’ as pliable elements not merely of but also for that system.

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Transcript

13 November 2013

The Iran Tribunal
Professor Sir Geoffrey Nice QC
Shokoufeh Sakhi

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