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Khamenei Urges Judges to Abandon 'Western Human Rights' in Rulings

By Faramarz Davar

June 25, 2024

Credits @FFHR.CZ

Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has advised judges in Iran against referencing the "basics of Western human rights" in their rulings.

"I heard that some honorable judges refer to the principles of Western human rights in their judicial rulings," he said during a meeting with judicial authorities. "This is wrong."

"Those foundations are false foundations. Now they are not doing anything - the clear signs are in front of everyone's eyes in the world today that they are not acting either - but the basics are wrong," he added.

Khamenei's comments appear to be directed at Heshmat Rostami, a well-known judge in Iran's Mazandaran province, who serves on the Court of Appeal and specializes in family cases.

Judge Rostami has gained recognition among Iranian legal scholars for his unique approach, which includes references to human rights and international standards, albeit limited.

Such citations are rare in the history of the Islamic Republic.

Despite Khamenei's objections, Judge Rostami's references are based on Article 9 of Iran's Civil Code.

The law stipulates that treaty provisions and international agreements signed by the Iranian government, according to the constitution, areconsidered part of Iran's laws.

In essence, Khamenei has called for the cessation of implementing and referencing Article 9 of the Civil Code.

The human rights regulations he seeks to eliminate are aligned with Iran’s domestic laws and are therefore legally valid.

Issuing judgments based on these regulations by judges is entirely legal.

Khamenei's statements on prohibiting the citation of human rights regulations in judicial rulings reflect another instance of his imposing his opinions on judges.

According to current Iranian laws, judges are expected to be free in their judgments, and no authority is supposed to impose orders on them publicly.

In a more democratic and law-abiding scenario, a leader would encourage judges to reference Iran's international obligations in their rulings.

Under the rule of law, the principle for judges is to use and cite international regulations, requiring justification for not citing them, rather than the opposite.

Defense lawyers can advocate for changes in judicial rulings by citing international provisions, and judges, including appeals court judges, who ignore these provisions, can be held accountable by the judges' disciplinary court.

Invoking international agreements that Iran is a member of does not require justification, and Khamenei does not have the authority to halt this process based on personal views.

However, his absolute power and apparent disregard for human rights, a significant achievement of contemporary society, have enabled him to exert such influence.



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