In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds, and peace and greetings be upon our Master Muhammad and upon his pure household, especially the one remaining with Allah on earth
I would like to congratulate you, in advance, on the birthday anniversary of Hazrat Abul-Hassan ar-Ridha (God’s peace and greetings be upon him and his infallible and immaculate fathers and children). Also, I wish to congratulate all the diligent staff of the judiciary branch on the occasion of Judiciary Week. I thank Mr. Raeesi – the honorable head of the judiciary branch – for his comprehensive and valuable statements as he pointed out many of the necessary issues that we and the people and all members of the judiciary branch needed to hear. I too will raise certain points:
I ask God to bestow His greetings and mercy on the martyrs of the 7th of Tir, which was an important event in the history of the country and the Revolution, and on the martyrs of the judiciary branch – in particular, on the oppressed martyr, the late Ayatollah Shahid Beheshti, Shahid Qoddusi, Shahid Lajevardi and many other martyrs offered by the judiciary branch in its 40-year service during the revolutionary era.
I have spoken at length about the significance and the status of the judiciary branch and I have spoken about its duties and responsibilities in the course of the past years. Our friends in the judiciary branch have raised these points as well and therefore, I do not want to repeat them. Today, I would like to raise a few points about judiciary transformation – transformation in the judiciary branch – and Mr. Raeesi’s comments primarily touched on transformation as well. This is a very important and fundamental matter. I will also discuss a few points about combating corruption, which is manifesting itself in a tangible way in the judiciary branch today.
The significance of the updated transformation plan in the judiciary branch
As for transformation, I have heard – it was reflected on in the report delivered by the judiciary branch as well – that the transformation plan that was prepared and announced by the honorable head of the judiciary branch last year has been updated and what is available today to the judiciary branch is a plan that is better and more advanced than the former plan in terms of quality. This is a really good piece of news for us. According to a report that I have received, this plan has been prepared by the honorable judiciary branch with the cooperation of many outstanding personalities in Islamic seminaries and in universities. This method is a completely correct and reasonable method. It has also benefitted from the experience of a select group of officials and executives inside the judiciary branch in order to update and improve the plan.
If it has not been announced yet, you should announce it and you should also publish a performance sheet on the sub-programs of this plan in the right time so that the people know how far this plan and its sub-programs have moved forward. Today, you announced that the plan has progressed approximately 80 per cent. If the people are fully informed of this progress, it will certainly impact their hope about the judiciary branch. This is a very important matter.
Judiciary transformation should be on the basis of Islamic and religious principles and thought
Of course, transformation is not something that can be stopped. Naturally, in every period of time, transformation is brought up alongside new thoughts, new ideas and new plans and by Allah’s favor, the movement of transformation will continue to thrive. Of course, I have stressed this before and I would like to repeat it again: transformation should be based on Islamic and religious principles and thought. Otherwise, if transformation is not founded on certain principles, it is not transformation, rather it is deviation and chaos. Transformation should be brought about within the framework of certain solid principles originating from Islam, the Quran and religious ethics. In order to achieve transformation, management is necessary as well. This responsibility falls on the honorable head of the judiciary branch.
Reliance on God and refusal to be passive in the face of obstacles in the way of transformation
Another point is that transformation is a very difficult task. It is easy to say that we should bring about transformation, but it is really difficult to put it into practice. The reason is that there is certain resistance against transformation. Certain forms of resistance do not pursue an evil intention. Some people are not simply in the mood to exert fundamental change and some people do not have the means to do that. And it is possible that some people are benefitting from the status quo and therefore are willing to preserve it. Of course, outside the judiciary branch, there might be an interwoven criminal and corrupt network that is naturally against all forms of transformation. And behind all these, there stands the look of hostile apparatuses against the Islamic Republic. If any reformation occurs in whichever part of the Islamic society, these enemies become upset and try to confront and create uproar. They are our opponents, and opponents do not sit idle.
You enter the arena of transformation with power, spirit and courage, but they will not sit idle either and will embark on confronting you. They create uproar by making propaganda efforts in the media in a continuous manner and they sometimes tempt public opinion. This is really one of the manifestations of this ayah: “From the mischief of the whisperer of evil, who withdraws…” [The Holy Quran, 114: 4]. One of the things that they might do is to shake the firm determination of the pioneers of transformation. They constantly say that such and such a plan is not “in our best interests.” They give this advice so as to prevent a certain plan from being carried out. Therefore, there will be tremendous resistance against transformation on the part of these various parties that I referred to.
The way to confront them is to rely on God. You should rely on God. “And if any one puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is Allah for him” [The Holy Quran, 65: 3]. Allah the Exalted will be sufficient and He will help. You should choose the right course and the right goal and then, “Stand steadfast as you are commanded” [The Holy Quran, 42: 15]. You should move forward by showing steadfastness. This is the way to confront such resistance. The only important and efficient method in the face of obstructionism, temptations, obstacles, uproar and the like is refusing to be passive and continuing the path in a steadfast manner. This is my word of advice for you. This is another point.
All duties should be followed up simultaneously in the judiciary branch
One of the important issues regarding transformation is that you should pay simultaneous attention to all the responsibilities of the judiciary branch, which are many – in the Constitution, the responsibilities of the judiciary branch have been mentioned under five articles, but they are more than that because some articles contain many clauses – and you should carry out all of them. Fortunately, this was mentioned in the report delivered by Mr. Raeesi. For example, one of these responsibilities is asserting the public’s rights. Another responsibility is preventing the emergence of crimes which is an important responsibility. Mr. Raeesi has paid attention to these responsibilities and these achievements exist. I want to stress that pursuing all responsibilities in a balanced way is one of the issues that should receive attention. In other words, when we become busy with one of these responsibilities, we should not ignore the rest so that they will not be abandoned completely.
For example, asserting the public’s rights is one of these responsibilities that is very important. This is a very important matter. Another responsibility is exercising supervision over the implementation of laws that is one of the responsibilities of the judiciary branch according to the Constitution. Another is preventing the occurrence of crimes or the rehabilitation of criminals. All these are responsibilities that have been mentioned by the Constitution, each of which has an important and comprehensive chapter.
Asserting the public’s rights primarily falls on courts of law. Of course, this has been completely observed in the recent term. Mr. Raeesi pointed out that they do not wait for petitions and that they enter directly. Yes, this should be the case. When courts of law and public prosecutors feel that the rights of the public are being violated in numerous cases, they should enter the arena, as has already been witnessed. On the issue of the floods in early 1398, courts entered the arena in certain cases and they got involved in other areas as well. Recently too, we have been witness to their involvement. This is a completely correct conduct.
Preventing the occurrence of crimes is very important as well. Regarding crime prevention, what is important is the correct identification of the causes of crime occurrence. If these causes are correctly identified – later on, I will expand on this matter – then you will comfortably be able to prevent their occurrence so as to put a stop to their existence in the first place. If we manage to achieve prevention in the true sense of the word, the cost of confronting crimes will be significantly reduced. When we manage to achieve prevention, the country and the judiciary branch will pay a significantly smaller price for confronting crimes and criminals. Of course, this requires the cooperation of all branches. In particular, the executive branch should cooperate with the judiciary branch in this regard.
So, this is another point: all these responsibilities should receive simultaneous attention. By Allah’s favor, all of them should receive reformist attention.
The judiciary branch’s need to benefit from Islamic seminaries and universities
The point that I said is related to this matter – which is an important one – is that the judiciary branch needs to benefit from the sciences and scientists whose job is not merely related to judiciary science. For example, in the area of crime prevention, some causes of crime occurrence are psychological and some are economic. Those who merely specialize in judiciary science find it difficult to identify these causes and ultimately to resolve them. In this case, you naturally need the individuals who specialize in collective and individual psychology. And in the area of economic matters, you need individuals who exactly know the causes of crimes and the solution for resolving them. If outstanding personalities in Islamic seminaries and in universities are not asked to cooperate, the judiciary branch will naturally not be able to pursue its duties the way it should.
As for the issue of asserting the public’s rights, well, it is not easy to define what these rights are. This is a source of disagreement in itself. Only those who specialize in this area of law can resolve and clarify this matter. Of course, I have heard that in order to remove ambiguity in the meaning of the public’s rights, the honorable Attorney-General [Hujjat-ul Islam wal Muslimeen Muhammad Ja’far Montazeri] has adopted certain measures and has presented clear manifestations of the public’s rights including the issue of the environment or the careless transfer [entrustment] of production centers and establishments.
This is what the honorable head of the judiciary branch is pursuing in the present time, which is a proper course of action. Sometimes, it seems that such tasks have an individual nature, but in reality, they have a collective nature and they are related to public rights. As an example, we can cite the careless transfer of production centers to those who are either ineligible or incompetent: well, this will cause the country’s production to receive a major blow. So, this is not related to one, two individuals, rather this has to do with public rights. Therefore, attending to this matter is a necessity and in my opinion, the judiciary branch should benefit from the expertise of scientists in different fields in order to achieve transformation.
The whole body of the judiciary branch should believe in transformation
Another point that will be good to be discussed is that the movement of transformation in the judiciary branch cannot merely rely on a group of directors at the top of the judiciary branch. Well, it is clear that the honorable head of the judiciary branch is after transformation in the true sense of the word. The same is true of prominent and high-ranking personalities in that branch. However, the whole body of the judiciary branch should believe in transformation. Well, fortunately, Mr. Raeesi stated in his report that this belief exists in the judiciary branch, which is a source of joy. However, I wish to emphasize this matter. You should act in a way that the different elements in the body of the judiciary branch really believe in a transformation towards the realization of the lofty goals of the judiciary branch.
The judiciary branch should be a popular branch
Another point is about being men of the people which I have frequently discussed before. This was mentioned by Mr. Raeesi as well. Being popular has certain manifestations one of which is that the judiciary branch should enjoy the spirit of rendering services to the people. Its outlook should not be like someone who looks down on others. Sometimes, we might look at the people like people who think they are superior. This should not be the case. We are from among the people and many of our people are higher than us. Therefore, if someone looks down on others, this is wrong. So, it is important to have a spirit of rendering services. We should consider ourselves as the people’s servants. Each and everyone one of us, wherever we are, should have this outlook. This is one of the manifestations of being popular. Another manifestation is that we should act in a way that the people find it easy to have access to the judiciary branch. An important task is to make it easy for the people to have access to the different centers of the judiciary branch.
Another important matter is to raise the people’s judiciary knowledge. Sometimes, certain individuals have a problem and if they refer to such and such a judiciary organization, their problem will be resolved, but they do not know of it and they are not aware. This problem puts their life under pressure and it creates many problems for them. Therefore, the people’s judiciary knowledge and information should be raised.
Another manifestation of being popular is presence among the people. Well, I thankfully witness that judiciary officials –including Mr. Raeesi himself and other officials – show their presence among the people. This is very good. You should meet the people and be present among them. This is another issue. These are the different manifestations of being popular.
Another manifestation of being popular – I wish to discuss this separately and this was fortunately mentioned in the statements by Mr. Rayeesi – is that the people should be encouraged to help the judiciary branch. You are combating corruption. Very well, one of the factors that can help you on this path is popular reports. When the people deliver reports to you regarding matters related to corruption, you can benefit from them. I will explain this more later on. This is a point that is related to the discussion about combating corruption.
The necessity to do media and artistic work
I wish to raise another point – the last one – about transformation which is the necessity to do media and artistic work related to judiciary matters. Notice that the enemies of the Islamic Republic utilize all possible ways to show their enmity and thus, they deliver a blow to every area of the Islamic Republic within their power, one of which is judiciary matters. Excluding foreigners, there are even some people inside the country who do certain things with the negligence of certain officials. For example, they make certain films which question the judiciary principles of the Islamic Republic. Unfortunately, such films are ignored during general artistic revisions and they are displayed on the screen and are broadcast. This is a really bad thing. The judiciary branch should pay attention to this matter.
Media and promotional work does not merely mean releasing facts and figures. Well, the honorable speaker of the judiciary branch presents explanations and figures, which is very good and necessary, but it is not enough. It is not enough to say that you have done such and such things. In order to draw the people’s attention, in the true sense of the word, towards these matters, it is necessary to do artistic work. It is necessary to do media work in its artistic sense of the word. This should be considered a fundamental task.
Notice what westerners do in this regard. Well, in their cinematic works – according to the American films that I have seen: either Hollywood or European films – western courts of law are the pure embodiment of justice! They do not transgress against the rights of the criminals in any way and they do not pass a judgment until they are absolutely sure. This is how courts of law are portrayed in their movies, but you should take a look at the real world and at the current conditions in the US to see what they do. They send thousands of individuals to prison just because of their presence on the streets. The current ‘honorable’ president of the United States separated thousands of children from their parents and put them in a cage! This is how they behave. He says that if you do such and such a thing, you will be put in prison for ten years, but does this not require a law? Is it not necessary for him to act according to the law? However, he says, “I say that such a sentence should be pronounced.” This is how they make a judgment. Their courts of law are like this, but when you look at their promotions, you see a neat and embellished creature put on the display. Of course, I am not an advocate of showing something other than the truth, but you should merely reflect and display what exists in reality. However, the opposite exists unfortunately. Sometimes, certain films are made in our country which are the exact opposite of the truth regarding judiciary matters. In other words, they are the antithesis of the reality, but I do not want to give names. These matters were related to the issue of transformation.
Certain points about corruption: 1: The necessity to act in a decisive manner
I would like to raise some points about corruption as well. Thankfully, attention to the issue of corruption has reached its peak in the judiciary branch. Of course, it began in the previous term, but now, it has thankfully reached its peak and it is receiving good attention. When the people look at it, they see that you confront corruption, that you do not show any consideration and that you enter the arena in a decisive manner. Therefore, they really become happy and hopeful. This is because corruption and corrupt individuals deal a grave blow to the people’s lives, morale, faith and belief. Financial corruption – as well as other forms of corruption: but in the present time, it is financial and economic corruption which is at the top of the agenda of the judiciary branch – is a grave plight and dangerous virus, just like the coronavirus. It is epidemic like the coronavirus as well. It is extremely contagious and transmittable. In other words, corruption in one area rapidly and acutely spreads to other areas. A corrupt person does not only corrupt himself. He drags others into corruption with various reasons as well. In the case of the coronavirus, dirty and infected hands transfer the virus. In the case of corruption too, dirty and impure hands cause corruption to be transferred hand-in-hand. However, in the case of the coronavirus, if we use soap to wash our hands, the issue is resolved, but in the latter, the issue is not resolved by using soap on our hands. There is no solution other than cutting off the hands of the corrupt! Therefore, the issue is a very important one.
The mission of the judiciary branch is obviously to combat corruption in the whole of society. In other words, your intention is to combat corruption in the whole of society, but more importantly, you should begin to combat corruption inside the judiciary branch itself. I have frequently discussed this matter in my annual meetings with you dear ones in the judiciary branch and I have placed great emphasis on it. If some corruption is witnessed inside the judiciary branch, the harm that it does is several times larger than corruption outside the branch. It is like the poem “They pour salt on everything that might spoil, but woe is us the day salt itself spoils!” In other words, we cannot fight it the way we fight against other forms of corruption. The blow that it delivers is grave and therefore, it requires serious confrontation based on expert opinion. Therefore, you should primarily focus on corruption inside the judiciary branch itself. Of course, when I say, “primarily”, this does not mean that you should wrap up this matter and then attend to other areas. No, as I said before, all these areas should be pursued in a simultaneous and balanced way.
Adopting an expert outlook towards the causes of corruption and administering justice for the accused
The next point is that you should pay attention to the causes of corruption and this requires adopting an expert outlook, as was mentioned in the meeting. You should identify the grounds which lead to the emergence and production of corruption by adopting an expert outlook and you should go to war with it and try to uproot it with the same expert outlook. The main criterion for the judiciary branch in its fight against corruption is the truth, justice and the law. There should not be any other consideration. You should consider the truth and justice. If in a certain case, fighting against corruption is compatible with the truth, justice and the law, you should move without any considerations.
Of course, on the one hand I insist on lack of any considerations and on the other hand, I insist on observing the rights of the accused. I do not only stress the former, I stress the latter as well. God forbid, if someone who is not a criminal and a corrupt person is presented and treated as a corrupt one, this is a grave act of oppression or if they are punished and criticized more than they deserve to be, this is not a completely correct course of action. In other words, the existence of corruption and corrupt people is very dangerous, but transgressing against the innocent is even more dangerous than the former in the true sense of the word. I wish to place great emphasis on this point.
The dear officials in the judiciary branch – whether those working in public prosecutor’s office or those who work in courts – should take care to behave on the basis of the truth and justice. If the truth and justice dictate that they behave in a severe way, they should do it without any consideration. However, even if the truth and justice require severity, they should not get carried away by behaving in an extremist manner. This is both addressed to the dear ones inside the judiciary branch and those outside it. The audience in your courtrooms express their viewpoints as well, in particular now that cyberspace has become a very common phenomenon. In the present time, many individuals express their viewpoints [Supreme Leader laughs] and pass a judgment in cyberspace. With their statements and writings, they adopt the position of a magistrate, give a verdict and act accordingly. Sometimes, they utter words of abuse and sometimes, they slander and do other similar things. Everyone must be vigilant. Even those who are outside the judiciary branch should take care not to make the fight against corruption end in violating other people’s rights.
Of course, I should add that in the recent incident – the recent court session in the judiciary branch – some former outstanding and pure personalities of the judiciary branch were insulted and oppressed. Their rights were really violated. This should not have been done. Of course, I am addressing these statements to pious individuals and pious youth. Otherwise, one cannot talk sense into those who have a hostile attitude. There are some people who wish to take revenge on such and such a personality, when he no longer holds that position, just because of his revolutionary positions. I have nothing to do with such people. These statements are addressed to pious, religious and good youth who want to act on the basis of the truth. These youth should take care not to transgress and violate other people’s rights. The movement of combating corruption, which is thankfully showing itself in a tangible way in the judiciary branch in the present time, actually started during the term of Mr. Amoli [previous head of the judiciary branch]. It was he who began this movement both inside and outside the judiciary branch. These realities should not be ignored.
Facilitating the economic movement and preventing production centers from being closed down
Another point about the judiciary branch and the fight against corruption is that one of the good measures adopted by the judiciary branch is supporting production and preventing production centers from being closed down. Mr. Raeesi pointed to a thousand production centers in his report. This is a very important matter and a very significant endeavor. Every division in the Islamic Republic which can help the economic movement of the society should carry out its duty. The people have difficulties in terms of their livelihood and they have problems in this regard. Therefore, everyone who can help the economy to improve should do so. The judiciary branch can help by preventing the closing down of production centers. Recently, Mr. Raeesi announced that the banks which have confiscated some production centers as a pledge and guarantee do not have the right to close them down. This is a completely correct edict. This is a completely correct course of action. And this should be extended to other cases. For example, the private sector buys a factory from the administration and then closes it down or suspends its activities. It fires the laborers, puts the machinery on auction and uses the land to build a 20, 25-storey building. Well, this does serious harm to the economy of the country. You can follow up these matters in the true sense of the word because they are directly related to the people’s livelihood issues.
Establishing financial courts and building legal infrastructures
Another point is the establishment of financial courts for settling economic disputes. A necessary task for combating corruption, which I discussed before, is related to this: to popular supervision. Well, in order to organize popular supervision and popular reports, it is necessary to build legal infrastructures inside the judiciary branch. In other words, you should make it clear where these reports should go, how they should be examined, how you should verify and follow them up and how you should ensure the safety of the whistleblowers. This is an important issue. The safety, both material and spiritual, of those who counsel to do good and advise against evil – including the whistleblowers who inform you of the existence of corruption in such and such an area, contract and office – should be ensured and their security should not be jeopardized.
Sometimes it happens that a young Hezbollahi youth delivers a report to you because of his sense of responsibility but because he is not a legal expert, he makes a mistake by mentioning a name that should not have been mentioned in that report. They might make such mistakes. Then, law-breakers, who might know about the legal procedures, take advantage of the small mistake made by the Hezbollahi youth by concealing their corruption behind this mistake. Consequently, the youth will be condemned and they will walk free! These things should be taken into account.
This requires the existence of a legal infrastructure inside the judiciary branch for the sake of ensuring the safety of popular reports and for verifying their claims. However, this should not be used as an outlet for slandering and leveling accusations. For example, as soon as someone sees that there is an organization which accepts and listens to popular reports, they might level accusations against someone with whom they had some issues. This should be predicted and considered so as to prevent these things. After all, those who counsel to do good and advise against evil should feel the support of the judiciary branch and rest assured that the judiciary branch will be their defender. This was another point.
I deem it necessary to thank all the honorable judges and managers in the entire judiciary branch who are busy carrying out difficult tasks and fulfilling their duties in the area of transformation and various other judiciary duties. Mr. Raeesi pointed out that despite the outbreak of the coronavirus and the problems that arose in the area of communication and the like, the judiciary branch continued to work and the affairs actually progressed. There are some people who work on the issue of transformation. I thank all of them and I also thank their families. This is because half of the tremendous efforts and endeavors made by those who are working in a certain judiciary organization originate from their wife and their family members and therefore, they will receive divine rewards. I thank all of them as well.
Officials and the people should do their best to keep the coronavirus at bay
At the end of my statements, I want to make a brief reference to the issue of the coronavirus. Some people think that the issue of corona is done and dusted. This is not the case and corona still prevails. Fortunately, health organizations, hospitals and other such centers were in the frontlines and they sacrificed themselves – I have frequently said this before, but even if I say it ten more times, it is not too much because their work was really outstanding and they continue to do this marvelous work – and secondly, the mujahids in the way of God entered the arena voluntarily and they did voluntary work and rendered valuable services in hospitals, in cities and even in graveyards. The people too really behaved well and had a good response. In the beginning of the year, when the people cancelled “the sizdeh-bedar” tradition, I thanked them from the bottom of my heart because they took a serious approach. Well, what was the result? The result was that we were introduced in the world as a successful country in fighting against the coronavirus. When some heads of the countries spoke to Mr. President [President Rouhani] – he told me this – they asked him what we have done to prevent the spread of the virus. This shows that our work and our achievements in fighting against the coronavirus have been reflected in the world as some heads of countries ask our President what we have done. This was the first phase.
Now that we look, it seems as if the first movement and the first endeavor had lost its vigor among the people and some officials. I see that certain honorable officials show their presence on television while they are surrounded by other people, but they do not wear a mask! Well, I am not wearing a mask either, but there are no people around me. If two, three people come to me, I too will certainly wear a mask as happens sometimes. However, I see that some people do not wear a mask. When you are a government official and do not wear a mask, you might encourage the youth who is walking on the street not to do it either. What will be the consequence of this? The consequence is that our mortality rate reaches 130-plus people while it had reached a two-digit number – about 30, 40 people. This makes one really unhappy. About a month, a month and a half ago, they gave me certain statistics and figures showing that some provinces did not have deaths. I really became happy and I thanked God to know that there are such and such a number of provinces in which there are no casualties. However, very recently – a few days ago – I received a report showing that the same provinces which did not report any death on that day have reported several deaths. Well, one becomes really sad. We should not do this. We should observe the protocols.
Both the people and officials should observe the protocols. Fortunately, medical teams and staff continue to stand firm, but I am concerned that they might become tired. Medical staff have endured many difficulties. Well, until when should they keep doing this? For how long should they do it? We should do something to lighten the load that they are carrying. God forbid, if our nurses, our physicians and other medical staff in hospitals and the like become exhausted, work will remain lying idle and the situation will worsen.
It is said that there will be economic problems. This is true. Things should be predicted in a way that there will be no or few economic problems because of the coronavirus. We should pay attention that if God forbid, we show negligence and corona spreads again, the economic condition will become even worse and there will be more problems. Today, we need vigilance in every respect. You are witness to the enmities against us: the enmities of the evil US, of evil England and of European governments. You see that they have no scruples at all in doing whatever they can against the Islamic Republic. Thank God that they always slam into the wall and fail to achieve their goals. Despite the fact that they do their best to bring the Iranian nation down to its knees with their so-called “maximum pressure” policy, the feedback and the result is the placing of the Iranian nation’s punch on their chests as a result of which they sit back and fail to achieve their goal. This will happen if all of us will carry out our duties, God willing.
I am very grateful to Mr. Raeesi, the honorable head of the judiciary branch and his colleagues at the board of directors and also in the body of the branch: the deputies, the heads of courts and other honorable officials and all honorable judges and esteemed personnel of the judiciary branch. I thank all of them. I hope that God will help all of you and gladden the immaculate soul of our magnanimous Imam at the endeavors that you make and I hope that God will associate the pure souls of martyrs with the Holy Prophet, God willing.
Greetings be upon you and Allah’s mercy and blessings