Posted by: bahareiran | April 18, 2011

A wave of support for Camp Ashraf – Maryam Rajavi wants independent investigation

Maryam Rajavi: Appointment of a representative by the United Nations Security Council is indispensable to a full, independent, transparent and impartial investigation into the massacre at Ashraf.

–           The Iraqi government is not qualified to investigate. The results of an investigation by murderers about the crime they themselves have perpetrated is a foregone conclusion.

–           The Iranian Resistance has obtained the directives by Maliki and Iraqi commanders as well as top-secret documents on the attack on Ashraf, from within the Iranian regime, which will be provided to a representative of the UN Security Council

The world community is demanding a full, independent, transparent and impartial investigation into the bloodbath at Camp Ashraf on April 8, 2011.

1.         On April 8, 2011, Amnesty International urgently demanded an independent investigation and reminded that “In July 2009 the Iraqi government stated that it had set up an investigation into the killing of six Iranian exiles during an Iraqi security force raid on the Camp Ashraf. The findings of this investigation have yet to be made public and no members of the security forces are known to have been held to account for the killings”.

2.         US State Department spokesman Mark Toner said on April 12, 2011, “We just want to see that there’s a thorough investigation of what transpired there”.

3.         In a letter to the Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on April 13, 2011, Senator John Boozman wrote, “This brutal attack is in clear violation of Iraq’s promise toU.S.forces before it took control of Camp Ashraf, and is also in violation of International protections… I respectfully urge you to condemn these attacks and make clear to the Iraqi government that the killing of innocent people will not be tolerated by the United States”.

4.         Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the European Commission, said in a letter to Dr. Alejo Vidal Quadras, Vice President of the European Parliament, on April 13, 2011 that, “I have now publicly reiterated the EU’s call on the Iraqi situation to refrain from violence and to insure that human rights are respected. I ensured that this was done in a Declaration on behalf of the EU, agreed upon formally by all EU member states. I have also urged the Government of Iraq to grant access to independent international observers in order that they can provide a comprehensive assessment of the situation”.

5.         US Senator John Kerry, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said in a statement on April 14, 2011, “The United Nations confirmation of the scope of last week’s tragedy at Camp Ashraf is deeply disturbing and the Iraqi military action is simply unacceptable.  Corrective action is imperative. First, the Iraqis must stop the bleeding and refrain from any further military action against Camp Ashraf.  Second, the Iraqi government has announced a full investigation into the massacre and it must be thorough and serious.  The investigation must hold accountable the responsible parties and ensure that there will be no sequel to these horrific events.  Third, the current situation at the camp is untenable”.

6.         On April 14, 2011, Daniel Benjamin, Coordinator for Counterterrorism at the US Department of State, discussed the “bloodshed” at Ashraf during a hearing at the Subcommittee on Terrorism, Proliferation and Trade at the House of Representatives that, “Of course we all deplore the bloodshed and there is nothing that United States has done in any way to condone or to my mind opens the way towards this”. He added, “The government in Baghdad has committed itself to a full and fair investigation and we are pushing them to do so”.

7.         In an April 15, 2011 letter to the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, Senator Carl Levin, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, wrote, “The Iraqi ministry of Defense has agreed to investigate the incident at Camp Ashraf. As the investigation proceeds, I respectfully urged the Government of Iraq to refrain of using force against the residents of Camp Ashraf. I also request that the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq immediately be granted permanent access to Camp Ashraf “.

On the same day, Senator Levin wrote to Secretary Clinton, saying, “I commend the State Department’s immediate efforts to urge the Government of Iraq to conduct an investigation into the incident and show restraint and avoid violence when dealing with resident of Camp Ashraf”.

Senator Levin also wrote to General Lloyd Austin, Commanding General of the US forces in Iraq, saying, “In your conversation with member of the Iraqi security forces, I encourage you to remind them of their obligations under a written agreement with the United States to provide toCampAshrafresidents’ security and well-being.

“I would appreciate answers to the following questions: Do you feel that the Government of Iraq is committed to upholding its obligation to provide protection for Camp Ashraf residents? What role do you see United States Forces-Iraq playing in a long-term strategy for achieving a resolution of the Camp Ashraf situation that is acceptable to all parties?”

8.         Navi Pillay, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, reiterated on April 15, 2011, “There must be a full, independent and transparent inquiry, and any person found responsible for use of excessive force should be prosecuted.” She added, “Full details of what exactly happened on the morning of 8 April are still only beginning to emerge.”

Ms. Pillay recalled that “The Iraqi military was well aware of the risks attached to launching an operation like this at the camp. A similar operation by Iraqi security forces in 2009 left 11 people dead and dozens wounded at Ashraf. There is no possible excuse for this number of casualties”.

9.         On April 15, 2011, nineteen members of the United States House of Representatives, including senior members of the Foreign, Armed Services and Judiciary committees, wrote in a letter to the US Secretaries of State and Defense, stressing, “On Sunday, April 10 U.S. military and embassy personnel were allowed into Camp Ashraf for the first time after the attack and stayed in the Camp until Monday morning, April 11 to complete their investigation and treat a number of the wounded.

“Congress, however, has not been apprised of what they found, even though aU.S.military spokesman said it would be provided to the Iraqi Government. We would like to know, as soon as possible, what they observed when they entered the Camp and if your agency plans to publicly release that information. Gross violations of human rights thrive in the darkness. We simply ask that you shed a little bit of light on this awful attack”.

10.       Mr. Struan Stevenson, the head of the European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with Iraq, underscored on April 15, 2011, “The odious Foreign Minister from neighbouring Iran even congratulated Prime Minister Al Maliki on a job well done, revealing clearly who was the real driving force behind the massacre”.

11.       On April 15, 2011, more than 70 members of the European Parliament, including a number of its highest ranking leaders, including six vice presidents and the chair of the EP’s Foreign Affairs Committee, issued an urgent declaration about the humanitarian crisis in Camp Ashraf, in which they said, “As anticipated, the Iranian regime has jubilantly praised the Iraqi regime for the massacre at Camp Ashraf. At present, some 1,500 forces along with 50 armoured vehicles remain inside the perimeter of Camp Ashraf and the possibility of another attack “. 

They emphasized, “The attack of armoured units on a refugee Camp where ‘Protected Persons’ under the Fourth Geneva Conventions are stationed is a ‘Crime against the International Community’. Aiming a gun at the head and heart of Ashraf residents and shooting at them is a ‘War Crime’. Driving over people on foot on purpose and crushing them under vehicles is a ‘Crime against Humanity’. Shelling and bombing of the residential zones is a ‘War Crime’. Preventing the injured from reaching hospital is a ‘Crime against Humanity’”.

The Euro MPs demanded, “Opening Ashraf’s gates to the United Nations, lawyers, parliamentarians and journalists and the designation of an international truth finding delegation and investigation about the attack by the Iraqi army on Ashraf, by the UN Security Council”.

12.       In referring to the Iraqi “Government’s initiative to set up a commission of inquiry,” the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) said on April 16, 2011, “The commission should be independent and start its work without delay. UNAMI stands ready to provide documentation resulting from the mission to Ashraf”.

UNAMI recalled the statement by Mrs. Pillay in which she said, “There must be a full, independent and transparent inquiry, and any person found responsible for use of excessive force should be prosecuted”.

13.       According to the Iraqi Parliament’s official website, Mr. Ussama Nojeifi, the Speaker of Iraq’s Council of Representatives (Parliament), announced on April 17, 2011, “The Parliament will discuss the issue of the Camp in the coming days and the Parliament intends to form an impartial committee to investigate this matter.”

14.       Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, welcomed the international community’s emphasis on the need for full, independent and transparent investigations into the bloodbath at Ashraf at a time when the attacking forces and their armored units are still in the Camp and continue their repressive actions. She added, it is quite obvious that the Iraqi government is itself responsible for this heinous massacre and as such is in no way qualified to carry out an investigation. The results of such an inquiry would be a foregone conclusion. Moreover, the Iraqi government has refused any cooperation withSpain’sNational Courtregarding the slaughter its forces perpetrated on July 28 and 29, 2009 in Ashraf and has defied the judgments of that court. A full, transparent, independent and impartial investigation is possible only if the Maliki government and the Iranian regime are prevented from influencing and tainting it.

So far, 34 residents, including 8 women, have been murdered, a number of them run over by armored carriers. In addition, there are 346 wounded residents, 225 of whom have been shot, or suffer from explosive and shrapnel wounds. Therefore, the appointment of a United Nations Security Council representative is indispensable to a full, impartial, transparent and independent investigation into this tragedy, so that they can visit Ashraf and hear the residents of Ashraf and all witnesses without any restrictions and inspect the crime scene. The International Committee in Search of Justice, which represents more than 4,000 parliamentarians in 35 countries, the International Committee in Defence of Ashraf, which is comprised of 8,500 lawyers and jurists in Europe and the United States, who represent the residents of Ashraf, the Arab Committee in Defense of Ashraf, the Iraqi lawyers for the residents of Ashraf, families and the official representative of the residents of Ashraf outside Iraq will cooperate fully with the representative of the Security Council.

Mrs. Rajavi added, we have obtained the directives issued by Maliki and the Iraqi commanders as well as top-secret documents related to the attack on Ashraf from within the Iranian regime. This evidence will be provided to the Security Council’s representative for the investigation into the bloodbath at Ashraf.

Mrs. Rajavi called on all Iraqi independent political parties, associations and personalities as well as religious leaders who do not tolerate such atrocities, especially the Speaker of the Parliament and the Chair of its Human Rights Committee, to support calls for the appointment of a UN Security Council representative to carry out an independent investigation, and to offer full cooperation in this regard so that the facts are made clear. Covering up a crime only leads to further and repeated atrocities.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

April 17, 2011

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