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David Matas


Aug 15, 2017


(Remarks delivered to an AMIA commemoration, 18 July 2017, Winnipeg)


How best to remember the 1994 AMIA bombing?  One way is to provide a remedy for the surviving victims and families of the dead. Today, the accused perpetrators are still alive, free from prosecution and flaunting impunity.


In November 2006, Argentina requested that INTERPOL issue Red Notices for nine individuals because of the AMIA bombing. Iran challenged the request. The INTERPOL Executive Committee on March 15, 2007 decided that Red Notices should be issued for six individuals: Imad Fayez Mughniyah, Ali Fallahijan, Mohsen Rabbani, Ahmad Reza Asghari, Ahmad Vahidi and Mohsen Rezai. The Red Notices were issued on 31 March. These six accused have yet to be brought to justice, ten years later.


Five are Iranian nationals, one was Lebanese. The Lebanese has died. The Iranians remain alive and are all prominent members of the regime of the mullahs.


Canada can play its part, is already doing its part, but can do more. Canada has listed Iran under The Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act.  That Act allows victims of terrorism to sue perpetrators of terrorism, including foreign states, for loss that has occurred as a result of an act of terrorism.  Canada should maintain Iran on that list until the accused perpetrators of the AMIA bombing are brought to justice.


Second, Canada has also listed as a terrorist entity the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force. That Force is responsible for exporting the Iranian Revolution through facilitating terrorist operations.  One of the five Iranians listed by Interpol, Ahmad Vahidi, is a commander of the Qods Force.


 Being listed means the entity's property can be the subject of seizure and forfeiture. Also, it is an offence to contribute to any activity of a terrorist group. Canada should maintain the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' Qods Force as a listed terrorist entity until the accused perpetrators of the AMIA bombing are brought to justice.


Third, Canada has Special Economic Measures (Iran) Regulations which enacts a wide range of economic sanctions against Iran. There is currently a bill before the Senate addressing these sanctions. The bill stipulates that Canadian sanctions against Iran cannot be eased until two consecutive annual reports from the Government find

          "that there is no credible evidence of terrorist activity or incitement to hatred emanating from Iran and that there has been significant progress in Iran in respect of human rights".


Canada should maintain the existing economic sanctions against Iran until the accused perpetrators of the AMIA bombing are brought to justice. The bill now before the Senate should be passed to make that point.  Every Canadian should be asking a Senator to support this bill.


We must not forget the victims of the AMIA bombing; we must also not forget their murderers.  The Argentinean justice system, to be sure, has not done everything it could have and should have for the victims. But we must not forget that the all the living accused perpetrators are Iranians living in Iran, deeply involved in the regime of the mullahs. 


Impunity is a recipe for repetition. In honour of the memory of the victims of the AMIA bombing, let us do what we can to bring the accused perpetrators to justice.


David Matas is honorary senior counsel to B'nai Brith Canada.  He is a Winnipeg based international human rights lawyer.



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