''Respecting Citizenship Rights Was the Message of the Eight Articled Directive''

ID: 31609 | Date: 2012/07/29

Ayaatollah Dr. Mohaqeq Damad: “Respecting Citizenship Rights Was the Message of the Eight Articled Directive.”

Such foreseeing and tolerance in that situation from a person like Imam was expected, somehow that some contents of the Eight Articled Directive surprised a lot of experts.

Ayatollah Dr. Mohaqeq Damad as much as he is a scholar and jurist, he is also a philosopher. Talking with this great professor of law and philosophy isn’t just because of his high scientific level but also for his authority as the head of General Inspection Office of Iran in the Eight Articled Directive committee. Ayatollah Mohaqeq Damad in this written interview mentioned the reasons and the modality of the Eight Articled Directive and describes the actions made by this executive committee and in a legal approach to it he says: “This command should be noticed as a juridical document because of the one who has issued it.”

Dear Dr. Mohaqeq Damad, in 1989 you were one of the notable members of the Eight Articled Directive committee; please talk about the Eight Articled Directive and the executing committee.

After the Islamic revolution and overthrowing of governmental administrations, a sort of radical and violent method was happening every day. Especially in the arm conflicts of the 1981 and 1982 the legitimacy of the society was corrupted. In such a situation the founder of Islamic republic of Iran in a command later known as the Eight Articled Directive for preventing invades and radical actions issued strict commands which effected the revolutionary organizations and government officers. Imam, in that bad situation of war and inside armed conflicts announced the reservation of regulations necessary and didn’t accept any excuses and wanted punishment for the offenders. These commands were general and included various issues and for executing each article of these commands a committee was formed from Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili as chief of the judiciary system, chief of the administrative justice court and me as the GIO head and the prime minister, the interior minister and the consultant minister. This committee held their session headed by Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili and the members were all appointed by the revolution’s leader. In our first attempt to execute the commands formed an executive charter in 24 articles and approved it, these were the regulations for investigation groups formed to observe the execution of the commands.

How were the executions of the Eight Articled Directive observed?

When the central committee started its work a three member group, one selected by the judiciary system, one by the prime minister and one by the GIO, were sent to capital of the provinces, their report was our source in the central committee and based on the offends made the punishment for the offenders were issued fast and strict.

How was the acting of the executive committee?

The sessions were mostly held at nights and we handled the reports and the decisions were executed immediately and they were broadcasted by the IRIB the day after, which a number of dismissing of judiciary and executive officials brought a optimism among the people, somehow that some of the people who had immigrated because of the radical actions in 1981 and 1982 returned to the country and no one could dare to act against the law, broadcasting the name of the offenders who were dismissed or wanted was a great lesson for others and violating the laws and norms were reduced in a sensible form.

In which field were the most important offends?

Selection and reconstruction and clearing commissions of administrations and educational centers were in a bad situation and also assaulting property and privacy of people was happening every day, in that situation which every day a number of gang houses were discovered, Imam asked for respecting the law and religion, for example one of the Eight Articled Directive was like this that if the prosecutor officers entered a house to discover and arrest the members of a safe gang house they shouldn’t do anything beyond their mission and if they find gambling and prostitution instruments they shouldn’t oppose the owner for them.

Such foreseeing and tolerance in that situation from a person like Imam was expected, somehow that some contents of the Eight Articled Directive surprised a lot of experts.

In a short term what was the message of the Eight Articled Directive?

An action to enforce laws and regulations and to protect the life, property and privacy of people and respecting civil rights.

What happened to the Eight Articled Directive executive committee at the end?

After the investigation commissions were sent and the governmental and revolutionary organizations were almost sorted and lawful and the observation systems which were predicted in the constitution started to work, the necessity of the Eight Articled Directive committee was gone. A part of it titled judiciary commissions remained under the supervision of Ayatollah Mousavi Ardebili and it decided about different cases like the 49th article courts for a time.

Which article of the 24article charter, approved based on the Eight Articled Directive, was the most important one?

All 24 article were arranged and approved based on the significance and the soul of the Eight Articled Directive and picking one of them is difficult, for example in the 11th article it is written:

“The members of the committees in term of law enforcement duties should follow the interior ministry and in term of judiciary duties, they are counted as an officer for the judiciary system and they should only follow written and legal orders made by the judiciary authorities in their mission, and without a warrant issued by judiciary authorities they have no right to investigate, summon and arrest a person or to enter one's home and offense their property. Evident crimes aren’t among this article. The offenders will see a trial in competent courts and they’ll be punished religiously and legally. All the police forces and members of the IRGC and committees and Basij are asked to not obey the orders of non-judicial authorities in case of summoning and arresting an individual or recording one's property.”

In general, what was the message of these commands?

I think such commands from a Faqih (One who has a deep understanding of Islam, its laws, and jurisprudence) like Imam Khomeini will have some important lessons within. You know that in Islam’s Fiqh (jurisprudence) beside the first written sources one its important source is the behavior of the elites and Faqihs.  Imam Khomeini who was one the greatest Faqihs of history removed a wrong opinion that some people thought and maybe still think that expediency justifies everything. Lying, betrayal, slander, accusations, torture and persecution and even promoting prostitution, all these are forbidden in normal status, but some say that if its expediency appropriate, it's not forbidden and it's rather obligated to be done!! And we know that this means crossing all the divine and human values. Imam Khomeini in a bad war situation, terror and the fear that terrorists had made, and the everyday explosions and when there were a lot of martyrs, even in all these situations didn’t allow the actions which he has mentioned in the commands. He didn’t see any expediency more important than Islamic-human values. If all those sins are going to be allowed that what will remain from the system.

This command should be counted a jurisprudence document because of the one who has issued it, and I think it should be compared to works such as “Tanbihul Ummah” written by Mirza Hosein Na'ini during the constitutional revolution. “Tanbihul Millah - Tanzihul Millah” is a book that meant to clear the accusations made against the Shia clergies then to say they are against freedom and democracy and day life developments. And so this is the purpose of the books name, and it actually was successful or at least it showed that not all the Faqihs think like that. When this command was issued, the same accusation was titled to the Islamic republic that in this system, the purpose justifies the instrument and Imam Khomeini as the great founder of the Islamic government by issuing this command dismissed this accusation from the Islamic republic. Of course I’m not saying that no one violated from the command. Offenders have always been there, but we should try to prevent the offenders to do so in the name of Islam.

At the end I feel necessary to note that some of the content and notes in the command exactly existed in the existing rules such as the Code of Criminal Procedure. But Imam Khomeini stressed on them because some of the offenders had named these regulations as a part of the Western culture regulation and said that these are what the Western human rights activists request and so they were pressuring on not acting as them. And unfortunately they assumed that violating these regulations is relevant to Islam and revolutionary spirits. Anyway if we consider those days, issuing such a command in those days reveals the religious courage of Imam Khomeini based on piety and being a jurisprudent. The piety that is one the conditions of being a Marja (Islamic leader)  is completely obeying God and having the courage to act as God’s will even if it’s against the public opinion.