THE HAGUE 4 Feb. (IPS) For the first time, the International Criminal Court accepted a formal accusation against the Islamic Republic filed by an Iranian Non Governmental Organisation (NGO), according to a member of the US-based NGO.

The Iranian Think Tank, a NGO led by Dr. Mas’ood Ansari, an Iranian university professor in Washington, registered officially a criminal file against the Islamic Republic with the ICC on 27 of February, accusing the ruling Iranian theocracy of gross violations against the Iranian people and human rights, Mrs. Homa Ehsan, a veteran Iranian journalist and political activist told Iran Press Service from The Hague, where ICC is based.

The voluminous file includes thousands of written statements, eyewitness reports, tapes and videotapes by Iranians who had been jailed, tortured, deprived of their most basic rights and discriminated under the laws of the Islamic Republic, based on the Islamic Shari’a.

There are videotapes of stoning, cutting hand and foot, taking out eye, inhuman tortures of prisoners, some under the Islamic law of "qesas", or the Talion, the Los Angeles-based Mrs. Ehsan described.

"Your Communication that includes five videotapes has been dully registered with the office of communications of the Registry and would be given consideration as an appropriate time and in accordance with the provisions of the ICC", a letter of acknowledgment* says, signed by Mr. Thomas Sarkis on behalf of the President of the ICC.

The International Criminal Court was formed in Rome in 1998 with the participation of 120 nations, with the aim of promoting the rule of law and ensure that the gravest international crimes do not go unpunished, by bringing to prosecution officials, including leaders from any regime that abuses the rights of its citizen. So far, 92 countries have adhered to its principles, including the Islamic Republic, which has not yet ratified the adhesion officially.

A permanent body, which is independent of the United Nations, the 18 judges ICC, which is presided over by Judge Philippe Kirsch of Canada, is however bound to the UN by an Agreement that was approved in the Italian Capital on September 2002.

Tehran is pressing to immune its leaders from international prosecution, arguing that since its laws are based on Islam, therefore the actions taken by the regime and its leaders are validated by Islam and cannot be answerable but to God and Islam.

This is the first time that a group of Iranians have filed a criminal label against the Islamic Republic, sources told IPS, adding that others, some of them based in Berlin, are also gathering evidences against the present Iranian regime to be prosecuted under crime against humanity, war crimes and crimes against human rights.

The ICC’s Trustee Board includes the Jordanian Queen Rania, the former Polish Prime Minister, Bishop Desmund Tutu of South Africa, a former president of Costa Rica and Mrs. Simone Veil, a former French Minister and human rights activist. ENDS IRAN ICC 4304

*Editor’s note The Think Tank Organisation’s "communication" with the ICC is officially registered under Number OTP-CR-52/04 and every Iranian, either in Iran or abroad, can contact the ICC and file label against the Islamic Republic.