Swiss Federal Criminal Court orders the Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office to investigate the murder of Dr. Kazem Rajavi as genocide and a crime against humanity
In its final verdict issued on September 23, 2021, the Swiss Federal Criminal Court decided to investigate the case of the assassination near Geneva in 1990 of Dr. Kazem Rajavi, a representative in Switzerland of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, not as a case of “murder” but as “genocide” and a “crime against humanity.” The federal criminal court ordered the federal prosecutor’s office to open an investigation into the crime. The court refers to the plaintiff’s reasoning that Professor Rajavi was assassinated in 1990 following the massacre of 30,000 political prisoners in 1988, which should be, according to his reasoning, legally qualified as genocide and a crime against humanity. That way, there would be no question of imprescriptibility in the case.
The assassination of Dr. Rajavi was carried out by a 13-member commando team sent from Tehran on the direct order of then Intelligence Minister Ali Fallahian, against whom a Swiss court issued an international arrest warrant in 2006.
After the assassination of Dr. Rajavi, Iran’s first ambassador to the United Nations European Headquarters after the fall of the Shah, the Swiss Prosecutor of Vaud canton began a criminal investigation against 13 individuals accused of the crime and Ali Fallahian for having instigated the assassination. In 1997 an international arrest warrant was issued against these 13 people, and later, in 2006, an international arrest warrant was issued against Ali Fallahian.
Extracts from the text of the decision as background:
Despite in-depth investigations, “the public prosecutor of the canton of Vaud, Special Affairs Division, by notice of May 28, 2020, informed the complainants of its intention to close the aforementioned procedure as soon as the thirty-year limitation period had been reached. Subsequently, The Iranian resistance declared that the acts committed by the accused were examples of genocide and crimes against humanity and would not be subject to the 30-year statute of limitation. The Iranian resistance considers that the assassination of Dr. Kazem Rajavi was “in direct relation with the massacre of thirty thousand political prisoners, perpetrated in Iran in the second half of the year 1988 under cover of the fatwa pronounced by the Supreme Leader Khomeini. “
Since April 2020, the question of the assassination of Dr. Kazem Rajavi in the context of crime against humanity and genocide has been the subject of several legal discussions and bills between the public prosecutor of the canton of Vaud, and the public prosecutor of Confederation, who saw no reason to intervene in the affair and instruct it further. For 30 years, the public prosecutor of the canton of Vaud had dealt with the case as a “murder” case, but cases such as genocide and crimes against humanity fall under the exclusive competence of the public prosecutor of the Confederation.
Following these exchanges, the case was finally sent to the Federal Criminal Court, Complaints’ section, in February 2021, where it was reviewed.
According to the court, contrary to the opinion of the federal prosecution, “for crimes with a historical dimension, such as genocide and crimes against humanity,” the imprescriptibility could be maintained, and the fact that thirty years have passed since the crime was committed will not end the investigation.
According to the law, such a crime “is punished with a custodial sentence of life or a custodial sentence of at least ten years whoever, with the intention of destroying in whole or in part a national, racial or religious group, ethnic, social or political, as such, kills members of the group or seriously undermines their physical or mental integrity. “
According to the court, “It appears from the elements established during the investigation that the execution of K. Rajavi, an activist of the National Council of Iranian Resistance, then under the cover of political asylum in Switzerland since 1981, had already been decided and ordered in 1982 or 1983 by Fallahian, Minister of Intelligence and Security Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran and responsible for directing the execution of opponents of the regime. For the purpose of planning the crime in question, Iranian commandos traveled to Switzerland three times between October 1989 and April 1990. During the last trip, the commando set up and composed of thirteen people with Iranian service passports bearing the mention “on mission” surveilled the victim for several days before taking action on April 24, 1990. Ambushed not far from his home by two vehicles whose occupants opened fire with a 9mm submachine gun.
Mr. Rajavi was killed on the spot. The perpetrators left Swiss soil in the hours following the crime and have since been the subject of international arrest warrants issued by the Swiss authorities, warrants which have today been lifted. “
“The Public Prosecutor’s Office of the Canton of Vaux has also demonstrated that the elimination of Iranian opponents was being carried out in several European countries. Assassinations were carried out between 1987 and 1993 in Hamburg, Vienna, Geneva, London, Dubai, and Paris. Fallahijan was placed under an international arrest warrant by the German criminal courts in 1996 for having played a fundamental role in the assassinations of opponents and by the Argentinian authorities in 2003 for having organized and coordinated a bomb attack at the headquarters of Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) in Buenos Aires. An international arrest warrant was also issued in 2006 against him by the Swiss authorities in the context of the present case.”
The Federal Tribunal thus rejected the arguments of the public prosecutor’s office of the Confederation and ordered it to investigate the case in the context of crimes against humanity and genocide. The court also ordered the confederation prosecution to pay court costs in favor of the National Council of Resistance of Iran.