“Faces of Crime” is a comprehensive database of human rights violators in Iran, launched by Justice for Iran. This database provides information on hundreds of human rights violators in Iran, along with documentation of the human rights violations, in a cohesive and searchable structure, providing researchers, human rights activists, plaintiffs, and competent institutions with easy accessibility. This database also shows the organisational relationship of the perpetrators with the government institutions, the scope of the institutions involved in human rights violations in Iran, and the organisational position of these institutions within the power structure of the Islamic Republic.
What are the goals of the “Faces of Crime” database?
The “Faces of Crime” database has been created to pursue the following purposes:
- Documenting human rights violations in Iran.
- Demonstrating the severity, extent and systematic nature of human rights violations in Iran.
- Identifying and collecting information about human rights violators in Iran.
- Demonstrating the relationship between human rights violators and the state institutions of the Islamic Republic.
- Demonstrating the role of state institutions of the Islamic Republic in severe and widespread human rights violations in Iran.
- Creating a classified and searchable database for researchers, activists, and plaintiffs.
- Creating a reference tool for both ongoing and future legal actions or other litigations.
- Holding the authorities of the Islamic Republic accountable for the grave and widespread human rights violations in Iran.
Definitions and methodology of “Faces of Crime”
For the process of investigating, documenting and compiling human rights violations recorded in the ”Faces of Crime” database, the concept of human Human rights violation is generally defined as the breach of human rights obligations under the international human rights instruments and treaties, which the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran is obliged to observe, protect and guarantee them. Human rights violations either occur with the direct intervention of the government and government officials, or as a result of their negligence or refusal to protect these rights.
The process of collecting, documenting and registering human rights violations in the “Faces of Crime” database has been conducted with two main approaches:
1- Investigating events and incidents that have involved severe human rights violations.
2- Investigating the cases of widespread and continuous human rights violations.
Through the first approach, the most important events related to serious human rights violations since the establishment of the Islamic Republic have been carefully examined. These events refer to incidents that occurred over a certain time period (one or more days, weeks, or months) and led to widespread and severe human rights violations. For example, the attack on Ahvaz Jundishapur University in April 1980, the massacre of political prisoners in the summer of 1988, the assassination of Kurdish opposition leaders in a Mykonos restaurant in September 1992, the serial killings of dissident writers and intellectuals in 1998, the attack on the University of Tehran dormitory in July 1999, the crackdown on the post-election protests of 2009, the suppression of the nationwide protests in January 2018 and November 2019 are among these events.
In exclusive interviews with witnesses, victims and survivors of these events, testimonials were prepared and specific information is provided about the violations. This includes the exact time and place of the incident, the people involved in the violation, their status and responsibility at the time of the violation, and information determining the identities of the perpetrators. This information has been carefully recorded and matched with information obtained from other sources, including the existing archives of the press and media of the time, the statements of the officials of the Islamic Republic, and the reports and correspondence of international institutions. The organisations and institutions involved in these events have also been studied, and the then officials of these institutions and organisations (as well as the people who were legally responsible for the performance of the institutions involved in these events) have been identified. Sources and documents about their role and involvement in cases of human rights violations were collected, and some of this information has been collected in the form of an independent investigation into these events by Justice for Iran.
Through the second approach, human rights violations that occur continuously and extensively across the country have been studied in detail. These include the collection and dissemination of forced confessions, the use of sexual torture, security scenarios against opponents and critics of the government, and the discrimination and violation of the rights of religious, gender, and ethnic minorities. The results of this research, along with a thorough investigation of the institutions involved in committing these human rights violations, and the officials in charge of these institutions, have been used to identify perpetrators and document their role and responsibility in human rights violations. Other reports on human rights violations have also been collected, reviewed, and used as part of the sources.
Scope of “Faces of Crime” Database
Based on the above definition of human rights violations. The scope of the ” Faces of Crime” database is limited to the perpetrators who have continuously or extensively perpetrated human rights violations, or have played a role in its occurrence through abuse of their official position, during the four decades of the Islamic Republic’s rule.
Although many non-governmental organisations and individuals are directly or indirectly involved in human rights violations in Iran, this database is limited to identifying perpetrators who are directly connected to the power structure of the Islamic Republic; and those who through the authority and power bestowed upon them by the state institutions, have either committed human rights violations and or enjoyed impunity.
It should be noted that this database is specifically focused on collecting information on living human rights violators. Therefore, the information of violators who died before the beginning of the investigation for this database will not be included in this database.
The list of perpetrators in this database does not include all state violators, or all cases of human rights violations by these perpetrators. The human rights violations for each of the individuals documented in this database, are only some of the human rights violations perpetrated by these individuals which could be documented based on the available sources and information. Therefore, a special mechanism for obtaining more information from witnesses, victims, survivors and informed sources has been considered in order to correct and complete this database. The Faces of Crime database is constantly being updated and expanded as it receives new information and documents, and after their verification.
How to use the “Crime Face” database
The front page of the website provides an overview of the power structure of the Islamic Republic, the most important governing institutions involved in severe and widespread human rights violations, and a complete list of perpetrators associated with these institutions. By clicking on any of these institutions, the list of perpetrators who have been connected to or in charge of this institution will be revealed. By holding the cursor over the image of each of the perpetrators on the front page, users can see the government institutions associated with the perpetrators on the power structure diagram. By clicking on the image of each perpetrator on the front page, users will be redirected to the perpetrator’s profile page.
The index at the top of the power structure diagram, on the front page, lists the total number of perpetrators , the institutions associated with these perpetrators, the violations recorded, and the time period under review.
In the search section on the front page of the website below the diagram of the power structure, users can search for information by name or nickname of the perpetrators, the official position of the perpetrators , the state institution associated with the perpetrators, the type of human rights violated, or the location of the violation.
By clicking on the special section “Perpetrators”, users can see the complete list of perpetrators registered in the database, along with the image, the latest government responsibility, and the number and type of violations registered for each perpetrator. By clicking on the name or image of each perpetrator, users are redirected to the perpetrator’s profile page.
The profile page of each perpetrator contains their personal information (date and place of birth, education, gender, life status, etc.), list of official responsibilities and positions, violations, details of each violation, sources used to record each case of violation, as well as the status of legal developments and international sanctions imposed on the perpetrator. In this section, users can also report other cases of human rights violations that are not registered on the page, by clicking on the link “Report a Human Rights Violations Committed by This Individual”.
In the “Institutions” section, a detailed diagram of the power structure in the Islamic Republic, and a collection of institutions that have directly or indirectly played a role in human rights violations can be found. It also includes human rights violators who have taken on important responsibilities in those institutions. In this section, special pages are dedicated to each of the higher state institutions, on which, a summary of the history of the formation of these institutions, their place in the power structure and their role in human rights violations can be seen. The page also provides a list of perpetrators who have been empowered by these institutions.
Assistance by the victims of human rights violations and others
Due to severe censorship and repression in Iran, and the lack of transparency of government organisations and state institutions in the Islamic Republic, an important part of the process of documenting human rights violations in Iran relies on the testimony of victims and eyewitnesses of the crimes of the Islamic Republic. For this reason, the “Faces of Crime” database has mechanisms in place to receive reports from victims and witnesses of human rights violations in Iran, with the aim of completing and correcting the information of perpetrators. In addition to the link titled “Report a Human Rights Violations Committed by This Individual”, which is available on each perpetrator’s profile page, users can go to the “Take Action” section, to submit their information, reports, documents and evidence related to human rights violations, or help complete and correct existing cases of human rights violations recorded in the database.
The next step
The next step will be to use international legal and political mechanisms to prosecute these human rights violators, based on the documents and evidence collected in this database. The information contained in this database can, first and foremost, be used to refute the repeated claim of the authorities of the Islamic Republic that human rights violations in Iran are limited and exceptional, and their perpetrators are “rogue elements” whose behaviour is not approved by the state.
The extent of human rights violations, the status and rank of violators, and the institutions involved in the commission of human rights crimes will well illustrate whether human rights violations in Iran are widespread and systematic or limited to a few exceptions. The database shows that the perpetrators of these crimes are in the highest positions of the government, and have not been prosecuted and punished for committing human rights crimes, but in many cases have been promoted. The database also shows that key state institutions, including the government, the military, and even so-called cultural or media organisations, have been directly involved in human rights abuses. Changes in leadership has never led to a change in the behaviour of these institutions. Most importantly, the institutions responsible for the protection of human rights and the rights of citizens under the law have, in fact, perpetrated the most widespread and largest number of human rights violations.