What happens when the institutions responsible for doing justice fail the victims of mass-atrocities? While global justice is now a popular demand, it remains a fledgling venture, at the margins of power realities. Significant gaps remain, especially in situations where the International Criminal Court does not have jurisdiction to intervene. It is in these contexts of impunity that the proponents of justice are forced to either abandon hope, or to explore creative, informal alternatives that are not dependent on the narrow political whims and fortunes of decision-makers. A notable instance of such accountability entrepreneurship is the grassroots initiative that became known as the Iran People’s Tribunal (“Iran Tribunal”), inspired by the mourning Mothers of Khavaran, demanding truth and justice for the mass-execution of their children following the 1979 Islamic revolution. This article, written by the Prosecutor of the Tribunal, explores this unprecedented victim-driven initiative and its implications on global accountability, conceptions of power, and the discourse of healing and reconciliation in the wake of mass-atrocities.


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pp. 73-103
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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