Call on the UN, US, EU and Arab League to protect Camp Ashraf with an international force

10 08 2009

Friday, 07 August 2009In a surprise move on the morning of May 28, 2009, the Iraqi police force attacked Ashraf at its entrance. They imposed a siege and for two months they exerted mounting pressures, threats and restrictions on Ashraf. Finally on July 28, 2009, they launched a brutal attack on Ashraf residents killing them savagely together with other suppressive forces at the behest of Khamenei who is engulfed in a nationwide uprising in Iran;

Iranian opposition’s Camp Ashraf attacked – Statement 72

– Referring to Iraq’s sovereignty in order to reject international responsibility to protect (R to P) and violate international conventions in order to cover up suppression and murder of Ashraf residents on Khamenei’s order based on “bilateral agreement”

– The present Iraqi Government is not competent to provide protection to Ashraf residents and this responsibility lies with the United States until an international force takes over

NCRI – At a time when the crimes of the Iranian regime in Camp Ashraf have generated outrage and abhorrence among people in Iran and Iraq as well as the international public opinion and led to widespread condemnations by governments and international human rights organizations, the Iraqi authorities have resorted to ridiculous justifications and lies to reject the international responsibility to protect (R to P) under the pretext of Iraqi sovereignty. They aim to violate international conventions and cover up suppression and murder of Ashraf residents.

The Iraqi authorities do not mention the orders by Ali Khamenei, the mullahs’ Supreme Leader, to Nuri al-Maliki, the Iraqi Prime Minister, based on their “bilateral agreement” to suppress the main Iranian opposition in Iraq, or the naked terrorism of the mullahs and the terrorist Qods Force against the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) in Iraq. Nor do they talk about the activities, propaganda, plots, or all sorts of lies and misinformation spread against the Iranian Resistance; however, they claim that Ashraf residents do not respect Iraq’s right of sovereignty. They also claim that the aim of the criminal attack by the Iraqi forces against Camp Ashraf was simply to extend Iraqi sovereignty and set up a police station in the camp just like anywhere else in Iraq.

These claims are totally void of any credibility and are not true, and those who ordered or perpetrated the crime against humanity cannot evade its international and legal consequences.

The International Committee of Jurists in Defense of Ashraf (ICJDA, comprised of 8,500 jurists), the International Committee in Search of Justice (ISJ, comprised of 2,000 parliamentarians on both sides of the Atlantic) and resolutions by the European Parliament (July 12, 2007; September 4, 2008 and April 24, 2009) underline the facts;

1- Ashraf residents and their lawyers have been stating repeatedly that they respect Iraq’s sovereignty. But it is totally unacceptable if anyone intends to carry out the orders of the clerical regime’s Supreme Leader under the cover of Iraqi sovereignty to suppress and murder members of the Iranian opposition in Ashraf and violate international treaties, as was the case on July 28 and 29, 2009;

2- While respecting Iraqi sovereignty, Ashraf residents held talks and discussions with Iraqi authorities for one whole year (from August 2008 to July 28, 2009) and representatives of Ashraf residents were extremely flexible in the meetings despite international recommendations such as those of the ICJDA;

3- Setting up a police station inside Camp Ashraf, and the manner in which it was suggested, was only a ridiculous pretext to attack Ashraf residents and suppress them at the behest of Tehran’s faltering regime. The residents of Ashraf have offered maximum cooperation to Iraqi forces since the beginning of 2009 when they went to Ashraf, and they have provided them extensive facilities;

4- Ashraf residents provided the Iraqi forces with a building at the entrance to the camp with dozens of rooms and halls and a number of caravans attached to the building. The complex was used as a work place and residence. Meetings with lawyers, parliamentarians and international delegations were held at this complex and it was built completely by Ashraf residents and their resources.

5- Ashraf residents provided the Iraqi forces with four protection watch towers, roads and installations at four locations outside the camp just behind the fence. The installations were built by the residents spending a large sum of money.

6- In a goodwill gesture, Ashraf residents evacuated 10 watch towers all around the camp within its boundary. They were used for two decades by PMOI members residing in the camp. This was to make sure Iraqi forces did not feel their work was not recognized or their task was interfered in.

7- Ashraf residents agreed to be finger printed and registered by Iraq’s Interior Ministry officers. The process went on for five days ending on April 9, 2009.

8- Ashraf residents agreed to have private interviews with Iraqi officials which lasted 19 days outside the camp next to Iraqi forces. This process ended on April 22, 2009. In these interviews which were conducted in the presence of American forces, Ashraf residents declared that their choice was to stay in Ashraf against offers made by the Iraqi Human Rights Ministry. Their choice were officially registered, and 11 others left Ashraf of their own free will;

9- Based on a proposal by Ashraf, all buildings, residential places, farms, gardens and installations within the camp were thoroughly searched by fully equipped Iraqi Interior Ministry officers. In their search which went on for three days ending on April 20, 2009, they also used especially trained police dogs, and according to an officially signed document, no arms or explosives were found except 23 packages of fire crackers some of which were empty and a few others were decayed.

10- Therefore, there remains no doubt that the brutal attack and murders carried out apparently to set up a police station within the camp under the pretext of implementing Iraq’s sovereignty was just a preposterous claim to execute the clerical regime’s demands. In a surprise move on the morning of May 28, 2009, the Iraqi police force attacked Ashraf at its entrance. They imposed a siege and for two months they exerted mounting pressures, threats and restrictions on Ashraf. Finally on July 28, 2009, they launched a brutal attack on Ashraf residents killing them savagely together with other suppressive forces at the behest of Khamenei who is engulfed in a nationwide uprising in Iran;

11- Interestingly, on the day of the attack on July 28, representatives of Ashraf residents met with commanders of the Iraqi forces and envoys from the Prime Minister’s office at 12 noon to discuss the manner in which the Iraqi police could be stationed. In their talks, which lasted two hours, the residents of Ashraf once again emphasized that they have no objection to the police force being stationed at the entrance and they were prepared to provide even further facilities to the police at that point if they needed and costs would be met by the residents. But the other side was not prepared to listen to the proposals and was determined to attack and kill at the behest of the mullahs’ regime. During the negotiations, the representative from the office of the Prime Minister received three telephone calls from Baghdad and finally he was ordered to end the talks and launch the attack. The ferocity of the attack, the number of Iraqi forces deployed and their criminal behavior, unveiled the aim of their operation which indicated that the issue was not to implement Iraq’s sovereignty, but, to destroy Ashraf at the behest of Iranian regime;

12- Mowaffaq al-Rubaie who was responsible for matters concerning Camp Ashraf within the Iraqi Government until May 2009, told the Iranian regime’s Arabic language television Al-Forat in Iraq in an interview on July 13, 2008: “This case will be closed very soon… The only way is for the Iraqi armed forces to take over the responsibility and the management of Ashraf base. It must only be managed by Iraqis. Those who have committed crimes against the people of Iraq must be put on trial here… Any country that supports them should take them, and the majority of them should return to their home country. Perhaps with the exception of 56 of them, the rest would be pardoned. The rest of them should return to their country.”

13- Therefore, Ashraf residents were from the outset not opposed to the settling of the Iraqi police forces at the entrance to Ashraf. Their representatives had asserted in numerous meetings with the Iraqi forces as well as the US forces that they have no objection to police forces settling at the entrance of Ashraf. However, police presence in the middle of the camp and within the human boundary of the residents of Ashraf, in a place where 1000 Muslim women and girls are living with their Islamic culture and traditions, pursues other aims which has been repeatedly declared by the Iraqi authorities.  Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, told the same television channel on April 1, “Gradually, Iraqi security forces will enter the camp and set up control posts and carry out patrols, stop-and-searches, and attacks”.

14- On July 29, 2009, in the midst of the assault and massacre in Ashraf, Ali Larijani, Speaker of the regime’s parliament, followed by several Friday prayer leaders, expressed their gratitude and praises to Nuri Al-Maliki and applauded his “brave action” to “annihilate the Monafrqin (The derogatory term used by the regime to describe the Mojahedin)”.

15- On July 31, 2009, Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki declared with utmost impudence, “The presence of the police centre is because some of the residents of the camp wish to travel to Iran or to any other country in the world but they are prevented by the organization and its leaders and are not permitted to do so. Some wish to use the amnesty to return to Iran but they are not allowed. Fifty five of them are under prosecution by Interpol because they are criminals and there are complaints against them. Those in charge of the camp refuse to hand them over. Therefore we decided to set up a centre there”. (Al-Hurra Television, July 31, 2009) It is evident that Al-Maliki relies on the terrorist Qods Force and the “9 Badr Brigade of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps” to maintain power as the future prime minister of Iraq and, to that effect, he needs appease Khamenei with wickedness.

16- It was reported on August 2, 2009 that Major General Al-Shemeri, Commander of Diyala Province’s Police, “set a deadline of 30 days for the members of the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran in Camp Ashraf to leave Iraq. Al-Shemeri stated that members of the organization would be given a choice to go to any country they wish or return to Iran. He threatened that if they do not leave Camp Ashraf, they would be forcibly expelled with military action. The deadline has started since the first of this month”. (Al-Baghdadiya Television, August 2)

17- Thus, the problem of Ashraf residents is neither to do with Iraqi sovereignty, nor the presence of police and establishing a police station and commanding it on the entrance of Ashraf (specifically in the building dedicated to the late Lord Slynn of Hadley.) The issue is about misusing “sovereignty,” and the “police station” to implement the “mutual agreement” of Khamenei and Al-Maliki to suppress, murder the Iranian opposition, or force them to succumb to the clerical regime. Against this background, this crime against humanity tramples upon international law, conventions and resolutions and rejects the “responsibility to protect” (RtoP).

18- With regards to the “responsibility to protect”, the UN Secretary General said: “RtoP is an ally of sovereignty, not an adversary. Strong States protect their people, while weak ones are either unwilling or unable to do so…RtoP seeks to strengthen sovereignty, not weaken it.” (Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary General, Berlin, July 15, 2008).

19- Based on the document signed during the 2005 World Summit, the UN Secretary General stipulated that in today’s world, engagement of governments to prevent genocide, war crime, ethnic cleansing, and crime against humanity “is not violating the sovereignty of the involved state.” As was adopted at the 2005 Summit, when “national authorities are manifestly failing to protect their populations” from the four crimes and violations, Governments “are prepared to take collective action, in a timely and decisive manner, through the Security Council, in accordance with the Charter, including Chapter VII, on a case-by-case basis and in cooperation with relevant regional and sub-regional organizations as appropriate.” (Berlin, July 15, 2008)

20- The experience of the past year has proven that the current Iraqi government does not have the capacity and qualification to be responsible for the protection of Ashraf residents.  In reality, unfortunately, the Iraqi government implements the wishes of the dictatorship ruling Iran to suppress the Iranian opposition in Iraq according to the “mutual agreement.” As Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, wrote to the US President on August 2, the solution is the following:  The US forces be in charge of protecting Ashraf temporarily until an international force under the supervision of the UN replaces them. The Iranian Resistance calls the UN, the US Government, the European Union and the Arab League to this effect.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
August 6, 2009


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