Why Iran should take the US led sanctions issue to the International Court of Justice
"the Islamic Republic has a strong case which could prevent war
This observer's best ever (and shortest) job involved " sort of" representing Iran before The Hague based International Court of Justice back in the ancient history days of 1980 following the American hostage events when the US government sued the new Islamic Republic of Iran before the ICJ under Articles 22 (2), 24, 25, 26, 27 and 29 of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations as well as Article 111 (4) of the 1955 Treaty of Amity, Economic Relations and Consular Rights (USA/Iran).
How I got the job following the collapse of the Ted Kennedy's long shot incumbent challenging primary presidential campaign where I worked on the issues staff, was that Iran's Charges D'affaires at its UN mission, Mr. Ali A, contacted US Senator James Abourezk who had just left the Senate and opened a law office in Washington, DC as James organized the Arab American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) and worked for the cause of Palestine.
The Ayatollah Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini led Iranian revolutionary government
hired James' law firm to represent Iran in the matter of the American government's Application at the ICJ. Or so we were given to understand.
My job description could not have been better. It involved immediately putting together an international legal team of ICJ specialists and move to The Hague to function as "case coordinator" and liaise with the World Court administration, monitor our case making sure of timely filings, keep an eye on what the legal team on the other side was up to at the Court, and sundry other tasks.
I quickly lined up three legal giants from my alma mater, the London School of Economics, including the scholarly, quiet, always deferential, and understated Dr. Bin Cheung, son of the former Foreign Minister from Taiwan, the posh, upper-upper British crust and elegant Professor David Johnson, who was my thesis advisor, and the out of control, bi-polar, extremely abrasive, indefatigable and brilliant University of London International lawyer, Georg Swartzenberger. I still recall the portly bald headed "misogynous tyrant" (as some of his female students referred to "Herr Professor") telling me in his heavy German accent, "Ve shall crush zee Americans at Den Hague!" and I had no doubt that with him as lead counsel we would have.
One of the many stories about the prolific Professor Swartzenberger, (his classic law treatise, Principles of Public International Law remains unmatched on jus cogens legal theory) was that in Germany during the early 1930's there were two dynamic and powerful egotistical personalities with nearly hypnotic charisma, plenty of fanatical supporters, and insatiable personal ambitions, who were bound to clash, probably sooner than later, and that post-Weimer Germany could not contain them both.
As it turned out, Adolf Hitler stayed, Georg Swartzenberger departed for England, and the rest is history.
I packed my bag, and contacted my former landlady who had rented me a room three blocks from the ICJ, when I studied at the Academy of International Law at the Palais de le Paix. While looking for my passport, I got a phone call from my colleague at James' office.
Long story short, our job was over. Finished. Khalas! We were essentially fired or at least not formally hired.
Ali A had just called James from the Iranian Mission at the UN and advised that Ayatollah Khomeini himself had personally decided not to continue with our work or to dignify the American application with a responsive pleading which we had been preparing day and night for six weeks! We were in shock. How could this be? For sure we were going to win this case big-time or so we all believed.
The Khomeini decision cast the template for three decades of default judgments against Iran by America and Israel.