On Thursday, June 24, the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) hosted an online conference highlighting the imperative of prosecution of Iranian President-elect Ebrahim Raisi.

At the event, human rights experts and jurists weighed in on the implications of Raisi’s presidency and the role that the international community must play to hold the Iranian authorities to account for their crimes.

Raisi is also infamously known for his direct role in the mass killings of political prisoners in the summer of 1988. In this respect, many survivors and victims’ families called on the international community to prosecute him immediately.

As the Iranian government faces a growing rate of protests and demonstrations, authorities see much more suppression as the sole approach toward people’s grievances and demands. Therefore, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei did his best to remove Raisi’s rivals during the Presidential campaign paving the path for his presidency.

All the while, the election received an unprecedented apathy given the disastrous performances of outgoing ‘moderate’ President Hassan Rouhani and the election’s designated winner Raisi as Judiciary Chief.

“The regime’s elections charade also faced a massive cross-country boycott by the overwhelming majority of the Iranian people. Reports provided by more than 1,200 observers backed by more than 3,500 video clips from 400 cities confirm that less than ten percent of Iran’s eligible voters actually cast their ballots. The Iranian people have made it crystal clear that they seek nothing less than regime change in Iran by the people of Iran,” reported the opposition Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK/PMOI).

Ali Safavi

“As you are already aware, on Friday, Ebrahim Raisi was installed as the next president of the Iranian regime,” Ali Safavi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the NCRI, said in his opening remarks.

“This development was, of course, met with international outrage not least because someone whom the Iranian people have dubbed as the henchman of the 1988 massacre when 30,000 political prisoners were sent to the gallows by the death commissions in kangaroo trials that lasted a few minutes in which Raisi was a member, was propelled to the presidency in a process that was neither fair nor free. It was in one word a travesty.”

Geoffrey Robertson

“This was indeed one of the greatest crimes against humanity, certainly the worst committed against prisoners since World War II. These kangaroo courts were not even courts at all. Raisi was one of the key figures of these trials,” said Geoffrey Robertson, QC, is a human rights barrister.

“He was 28 at the time. He was the deputy prosecutor of Tehran. It was simply a body that directed people to the gallows if they were not prepared to renounce their opposition. Raisi’s guilt is not only a matter of public record. He has admitted that he was a member of the death committee… In addition to a crime against humanity, this might even be a genocide. This was an unlawful exercise of state power,” he added.

Nick Fluke

“Raisi said on record that he was proud of his role in the massacre of political prisoners. This should be a wake-up call for all of us. We should not remain silent… I understand that this is a leader who will be—I hope—shunned. There will be a lack of credibility to whatever he says,” said Nick Fluke is a distinguished High Street Solicitor.

“When he announced his candidacy, he promised to fight poverty, corruption, discrimination. How do you square that with his past? He can’t be a champion against corruption. It’s interesting that dissidents urged voters to boycott. He even won the election with a very low turnout,” he added.

Lincoln Bloomfield Jr.

“What issues does the Raisi presidency raise for the international community? What policy should governments follow now that there is no prospect for rapprochement with the mullahs? What should the future be for Iran as a state in the international community?” said Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield Jr. is Chairman Emeritus at the Stimson Center.

“In 43 years since the revolution, Khomeini founded the religious dictatorship and then handed his job to Ali Khamenei. Khamenei didn’t have religious credentials but was reliable to keep the regime in power. And now Raisi is even more reliable to crack down on dissent. But since 2017, under the so-called moderate president Rouhani, Raisi has been putting people in jail. Raisi’s role has continued since the 1988 massacre before our eyes. This regime is trying to hang on to power at the expense of legitimacy,” he added.

Reza Fallahi

“I was arrested in September 1981 for supporting the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran and I was released in 1991. I am one of the few survivors of the massacre, for which the planning began in late 1987 and early 1988. I remember when Iran’s regime accepted the 1988 resolution in the United Nations, a senior official said the fate of political prisoners will be reviewed soon,” said Reza Fallahi, a survivor of the 1988 massacre.

“The actual prosecution process began in July 1988 for prisoners in their “red category.” None of the prisoners summoned returned. Ebrahim Raisi displayed particular hostility towards me and my cellmates. They asked in affiliation with which political organization was we arrested, do we believe in the Islamic Republic, are we willing to repent, and so forth,” he added.

Tahar Boumedra

“From now on, states and the human rights mechanism of the UN must stop calling on Iran to investigate the 1988 massacre. We must call for an independent international investigation into the 1988 massacre… What about Ebrahim Raisi? He has played a key role in the 1988 massacre. He was deputy prosecutor general of Tehran and a member of the death committee,” said Tahar Boumedra is an international human rights lawyer.

“In 2017, Hassan Rouhani confronted Raisi during the campaign and told him, ‘You know nothing… all you know is how to torture and execute.’ In the recent campaign, Raisi admitted his role in the mass executions and said as a judge or prosecutor he has to defend the rights of society. This is a way of justifying his role in the 1988 massacre,” he explained.

“In this situation, JVMI is joining its voice to Amnesty International, and we are calling for Ebrahim Raisi to be investigated for his role in past and ongoing crimes against humanity and for the international tribunals to bring him to justice,” Boumedra emphasized.