Haydee Dijkstal instructed by IHRDC for ICC complaint on crimes in Syria involving Iranian responsibility

In: News Published: Monday 21 February 2022


On 16 February 2022, a complaint (“Article 15 Communication”) was submitted by the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) to the International Criminal Court, requesting the Office of the Prosecutor examine the role of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the armed groups in Syria it controls, supports and backs in crimes committed during the conflict in Syria. The IHRDC instructed Haydee Dijkstal of 33 Bedford Row Chambers to prepare and submit legal submissions to the ICC Prosecutor and act on its behalf as legal counsel before the Court, along with her co-counsel US lawyer Gissou Nia.

The request was submitted in accordance with Article 15 of the Rome Statute, alleging that perpetrators from the Islamic Republic of Iran and its Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have perpetrated as well as aided and abetted the commission of certain crimes against humanity on the Syrian civilian population which have forced them to flee into Jordan; including the crimes against humanity of deportation, persecution and ‘other inhumane acts’.  The request includes evidence from Syrian victims directly impacted and forced to flee into Jordan by the actions of both the Syrian Government and the armed groups of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Although Syria is not a State Party to the ICC’s Rome Statute, jurisdiction for the OTP to consider the request and examine the alleged crimes is applicable because the victims were forced into Jordan, which is a State Party, and recent ICC case law has clarified that the Court has jurisdiction over certain crimes which are completed in the territory of a State Party.

Reporting on the legal submission:

·       The Guardian, Human rights lawyers attempt to bring Syria war crimes cases to ICC, 16 February 2022 - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/feb/16/human-rights-lawyers-attempt-to-bring-syria-war-crimes-cases-to-icc

·       Radio France Internationale Français, Syrie: première «plainte» déposée contre l'Iran devant la CPI pour «crimes contre l'humanité», 17 February 2022 - https://www.rfi.fr/fr/moyen-orient/20220217-syrie-premi%C3%A8re-plainte-d%C3%A9pos%C3%A9e-contre-l-iran-devant-la-cpi-pour-crimes-contre-l-humanit%C3%A9

·       Middle East Monitor, Syria: Lawyers call on ICC to probe Iran's responsibility for war crimes, Middle East Eye, 17 February 2022 - https://www.middleeasteye.net/news/syria-iran-lawyers-call-icc-open-probe-war-crimes