Criminal Code unsuitable for IRGC ban
The IRGC cannot be listed as a terrorist organisation under the current legislation.
A Senate committee has recommended Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) be listed as a terrorist organisation, as expected.
However, the Attorney-General’s Department (AGD) advised a day before the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Committee provided its findings, that the IRGC cannot be proscribed under current legislation.
“As an organ of a nation-state, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps is not the kind of entity that is covered by the terrorist organisation provisions in the Criminal Code,” the AGD said last Tuesday.
The government senators on the committee reiterated this view in their remarks in the report.
Executive Council of Australian Jewry co-CEO Peter Wertheim welcomed the report, which outlined additional measures against the Iranian regime, including increased sanctions and calling for Iran’s removal from the UN Commission on the Status of Women.
But he said the dissent of the Labor committee members over the IRGC proscription “is disappointing, and the legal reasons they have given for their dissent are flimsy”.
“While an entire nation or its government cannot constitute a terrorist organisation under Australian law, there is no reason why a discrete agency of a government, with its own constitution and organisational structure, cannot be designated as such,” he said.
He added there is a “sound international precedent” in the Nazi SS, which operated as a state organisation and a branch of the government, and became the primary organisation that carried out the Holocaust.
“After World War II it was judged by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg to be a criminal organisation,” he said.
The Zionist Federation of Australia urged for the Criminal Code to be amended to allow for the IRGC’s listing as a terrorist organisation.
“We welcome the committee’s recommendation that the Australian government should officially categorise the IRGC as a terrorist organisation, and urge the Australian government to amend legislation to allow the IRGC to be proscribed here, as it is in other countries,” ZFA public affairs director Bren Carlill said.
“No organisation that engages in terrorism should be immune from proscription just because it is owned or controlled by a government.”
Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council (AIJAC) executive director Colin Rubenstein said, “AIJAC welcomes the recommendation … that the IRCG be proscribed as a terrorist group.
“The report adopted a number of recommendations that AIJAC submitted to the inquiry, and we hope that the government will adopt the recommendations as quickly as feasibly possible.”
The government announced additional Magnitsky-style sanctions on 16 Iranian individuals and one Iranian entity last week.