Tehran, Iran, October 10
By Mehdi Sepahvand -- Trend:
Iran has held an expert session to explore the ways to legally pursue the recent stampede in Saudi Arabia that killed thousands of pilgrims during the Hajj ritual.
During the session, experts from judicial, diplomatic, and scholarly centers discussed the case and how Iran could approach it, Trend correspondent reported from Tehran October 10.
The stampede occurred in the Mina valley, outside the Saudi city of Mecca, where Muslims were performing the Hajj rites Sept. 24.
Iran has lost over 400 souls in the incident and about 70 Iranians are still missing following the incident.
Shariat Baqeri, dean of Iran's Judicial Sciences University, said the case in any way needs to be addressed by the court, adding if Saudi Arabia fails in launching a court, a hybrid court from all interested and afflicted countries is imaginable to do the undertaking.
Kazem Qaribabadi, deputy chief of Iran's Human Rights staff in international affairs, said Saudi Arabia as the country which hosts the Hajj is responsible for the tragedy.
He added that Iran cannot pursue the case according to the dispute resolution convention of 1963 because Saudi Arabia is not a member to that convention.
Accordingly, he said, Iran could not refer the case to the International Court of Justice; neither could it bring the case to the ICC, because not only Iran and Saudi Arabia are not members to it, but the kind of incident does not qualify for address by the ICC.
Mohammad Hosseini, foreign minister's consultant on African and Arab affairs and former ambassador to Riyadh, said Iran is the only country that has succeeded in taking the bodies of its nationals from the Saudi government.
Sixty-seven Iranians are still missing after the Mina incident. Iran's Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization chief Saeed Ohadi said October 9 that bodies of two pilgrims have been identified and the number of missing pilgrims has decreased to 67.
Qasem Zamani, faculty member of Allameh Tabataba'i University and professor of international law, said Iranshould note that its demands about the case may be used against it later.
"This is a double-edged sword. We also have religious tourist hubs," he said, implying that Iran's call for the Hajj to be held jointly by many countries may also backfire against the Islamic Republic.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Oct. 5 that Iran continues diplomatic talks on different levels regarding causes of the Mina tragedy.