International legal symposium in defense of Ashraf

The International Legal Symposium in Defense of Ashraf took place on Thursday in Brussels. The Iranian Resistance’s President-elect, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, was in attendance.

Some of the most distinguished international law scholars from the US and Europe also took part in the event, including Ms. Ruth Wedgwood, one of the most recognized jurists in the US and chair of the international law and diplomacy department and John Hopkins University, an expert in UN peacekeeping regulations and policies, member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and former members of the advisory committee for the State Department.

Other prominent speakers at the symposium included: John Bolton, former Assistant Secretary of the US State Department and former US envoy to the UN, Dr. Juan Garces, former political advisor to the late Chilean President Salvador Allende, Sid Ahmad Ghozali, former Algerian Prime Minister and Chairman of the Arab-Islamic Committee in Defense of Ashraf, Professor Steven Schneebaum, prominent international law expert in the US, Francoise Serres, distinguished French lawyer, Paolo Casaca, former member of the European Parliament, David Matas, prominent Canadian lawyer and an international law expert, Jean-Pierre Spitzer, noted French jurist.

The speakers offered their legal opinions about the legal status of Ashraf and the international community’s responsibilities, in particular the US and UN responsibilities to protect the camp and respect international conventions in this regard.

The senior international law experts stressed on the legal status of Camp Ashraf residents as “protected persons” under the Fourth Geneva Conventions and described the protection of the camp to the government of Nouri al-Maliki as a violation of US obligations.

The experts said the US is obliged to reassume the protection of Ashraf as soon as possible while the Iraqi government has the obligation to immediately end the unjust siege, psychological torture and inhumane restrictions against the residents.

The symposium released a final statement, in 9 sections, 23 articles and 6 concluding remarks, outlining the international community’s responsibilities to Ashraf. According to the statement, “The rights of the residents in the context of international law have been recognized and affirmed in dozens of legal opinions submitted by prominent international jurists such as the late Lord Slynn, Professor Eric David, Professor Cherif Bassiouni, Sir Michael Wood, Professor Jean-Yves de Cara, Professor Marco Sassoli, Guy Doodwill-Gill, Professor Siobhan Wills, Professor Steven Schneebaum, Professor William Schabas, and Mark Stephens.”

The international community is duty-bound to provide and guarantee the fundamental protections enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention and other binding international conventions and laws with respect to Camp Ashraf, the statement added.

In her remarks, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), thanked the legal experts’ efforts in support of Ashraf. She said these valuable efforts in support of the Iranian people’s resistance for the realization of freedom and human rights are at the same time a service to international peace, rule of law and justice in the world.

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