IBAHRI condemns extrajudicial killing of Iran’s nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

Thursday 3 December 2020

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) condemns the assassination of senior Iranian nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on 27 November 2020.

Mr Fakhrizadeh, described by some individuals as the person spearheading Iran’s alleged covert nuclear weapons programme, was assassinated while travelling in his car in the Abe-Sard region of Damavand Count, 40 kilometres outside of Tehran. After the attack, Mr Fakhrizadeh and his bodyguards were taken to a nearby hospital, where he was pronounced dead. His bodyguards were seriously injured.

The Secretary of the Iran Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, has accused Israel of orchestrating the killing by use of ‘remote-controlled technology’. However, some reports claim terrorists opened fire on Mr Fakhrizadeh’s car from a vehicle that subsequently exploded.

IBAHRI Co-Chair and former Justice of the High Court of Australia (1996 – 2006), the Hon Michael Kirby AC CMG, commented: ‘Regardless of the context, any extrajudicial killing by state actors must not be tolerated. Such actions are illegal under international law, with Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights stating: “no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.” Therefore, independent of whether Mr Fakhrizadeh was involved in the development of nuclear weapons, if his murder was state sponsored, it must be condemned.’

Mr Kirby added: ‘The IBAHRI opposes the proliferation of nuclear weapons and remains steadfast in its support of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons that requires signatory states, including Iran, to commit to nuclear disarmament.’

Since the death of Mr Fakhrizadeh, it has been reported that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s cabinet has doubled the budget of the Defence Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research that was led by Mr Fakhrizadeh.

IBAHRI Co-Chair and immediate past Secretary-General of the Swedish Bar Association, Anne Ramberg Dr jur hc, commented: ‘There has been much speculation by senior officials in Iran following the killing of Mr Fakhrizadeh. Given the politically charged circumstances surrounding the death, the IBAHRI suggests that the authorities of the Islamic Republic of Iran open transparent and independent investigations into the alleged extrajudicial killing, guided by the United Nations Minnesota Protocol on the Investigation of Potentially Unlawful Death (2016).’

Ms Ramberg clarified: ‘The Protocol outlines that, “the duty to investigate any potentially unlawful death applies wherever the state has a duty to respect, protect and/or fulfil the right to life, and in relation to any alleged victims or perpetrators within the territory of a state or otherwise subject to a state’s jurisdiction.” It is imperative that investigations remain impartial given the uncertainty as to who ordered the killing of Mr Fakhrizadeh.’


Notes to the Editor

  1. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  2. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.
  3. For IBAHRI news see: twitter.com/IBAHRI

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Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
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IBAHRI website page link for this news release:
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