International Institutions’ Deficiency in Addressing Saudi Arabia’s Crimes

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Saudi Arab
Thursday, 08 September 2016


The international institutions’ shortcomings in addressing the responsibility of Saudi authorities in regards to the Mina tragedy is quite evident. However, one will be faced with problems and deficiencies, in the road of holding the Saudi officials responsible for this incident.

According to international standards and regulations, by giving visas to citizens of another country, a government is committed to provide a certain environment for the visitors. Paying attention to norms and regulations in regard to the visitors, not subjecting the visitors to discrimination, and supporting life, property and dignity of individuals that are visiting the country, are all activities that help shape this environment.

On this basis, if a country fails to deliver as promised, it has violated its international obligations. When it comes to religious rituals such as Hajj, the government is even more responsible, because in addition to international regulations, religious obligations also increase the responsibility of the host government.

Hajj is considered to be the largest and oldest religious ritual that is currently being performed in the world. Unfortunately through the years it has been witnessed that within the period that the pilgrims visit Mina and Arafat, Saudi Arabia has failed to deliver on its regulatory obligations and the ceremony lacks any form of order. This issue is seen over the years. Due to the overcrowding, the pilgrims have received serious injuries with the slightest incidents. So, in terms of legal norms and religious obligations, Saudi Arabia is responsible for this incident, and without any doubt, the blood of those pilgrims that died in the Mina stampede is on Saudi officials’ hands. However, the important issue is finding a way to prosecute those responsible for this incident. In this case however, there are shortcomings and deficiencies present at the international level.

Generally, in many international organizations, it is only possible to file a lawsuit against a state in the International Court of Justice in The Hague, with the consent of that state.

When it comes to the International Court of Justice in The Hague, there are many limitations and obstacles on the way to prosecute individuals. However, alongside these arrangements, it is also possible to take the case to Iranian or Saudi courts. But since visiting Saudi courts due to the lack of independence is very unlikely, this option may not be considerable.

Since 2013, it became possible in the Islamic Penal Code, to file lawsuits against the perpetrators in Iranian courts, under the condition that victims were Iranian. Before this, even if the victims were Iranian, the courts in Iran were not qualified to prosecute the perpetrators. Now however, since the victims of the abovementioned incident were Iranian, it is possible to file lawsuits against the ones responsible, and sentence them to punishment and atonement. However, assuming that such verdict will be issued, carrying out the sentence against the Saudis will have the problems and issues of its own.

Therefore, it is evident that Saudi officials and even citizens were responsible for the Mina stampede, and other similar incidents that have occurred in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj ceremony. However, one will be faced with problems and deficiencies, in the road of holding the Saudi officials responsible for such incidents.

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