Thu, Dec 14, 2006 - Page 6 News List

Ahmadinejad genocide case mooted

AGENCIES , TEHRAN AND NEW YORK

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, right, greets one of the rabbis attending the so-called Holocaust conference on Tuesday in the presidential office in Tehran. Ahmadinejad said that Iran distinguishes between Zionism and Judaism.

PHOTO: EPA

The Outgoing US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton is backing a call for the president of Iran to be charged with inciting genocide because of his speeches advocating the destruction of the state of Israel.

Bolton will appear today among a panel of diplomats and lawyers calling for the prosecution of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The panel has been convened by a Jewish umbrella group in the US, the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations.

Bolton was forced to quit his post after his appointment was blocked by Democrats and several Republicans in the Senate foreign relations committee.

The call for legal action came as the Iranian president repeated his onslaught against Israel at an international gathering of Holocaust deniers in Tehran. The president, who has dismissed the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis as a "myth" told up to 70 visiting speakers that the Israeli state would soon be wiped out.

"Thanks to people's wishes and God's will, the trend for the existence of the Zionist regime is downwards and this is what God has promised and what all nations want," he said.

"The Zionist regime will disappear soon, the same way the Soviet Union disappeared," Ahmadinejad said, according to ISNA, a government-financed news agency. Thus, "humanity will achieve freedom."

He was praised by several participants for his "bravery and democratic actions" according to a source who was present.

The event came under fierce attack abroad. British Prime Minister Tony Blair condemned the conference as "shocking beyond belief" and singled out the decision to invite David Duke, a former leading Ku Klux Klan member, as proof of Iran's extremism.

Meeting Israeli Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, in Berlin, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, said Germany rejected the conference and would "act against it with all the means that we have."

Franco Frattini, the EU's justice commissioner, denounced it as "an affront to the whole democratic world."

Duke praised the event as "a tremendous step forward" and said Ahmadinejad said "sensible things".

Bolton will be joined in today's launch of the legal action against Ahmadinejad by Harvard law professor, Alan Dershowitz, and former Israeli ambassador to the UN, Dore Gold, together with experts from the US, Canada and Israel.

A suit will be lodged with the international court of justice at The Hague, which will decide whether to hear the action.

The panel said the Iranian president was guilty of inciting genocide "by making numerous threats against the United States, calling for the destruction of Israel and instigating discrimination against Christians and Jews."

His words violate a 1948 UN genocide convention, to which Iran is a signatory, they said.

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