Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic
of Iran A/HRC/40/67 para 76(a)
Full recommendation:
Pending abolition of the death penalty for child offenders, the Special Rapporteur recommends
that the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization, and other expert bodies called upon to conduct
article 91 assessments: Conduct assessments that provide a scientific, evidence-based
assessment as to whether there is total certainty about the mental development of the child
offender at the time of the offence in line with article 91 of the Penal Code. Ensure that such an
assessment reflects the findings of assessments by experts from all relevant fields, including the
relevant child development, psychology, psychiatry, and social service fields.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
The Islamic Penal Code (2013)2 establishes the age of criminal responsibility at 9 lunar years for
girls and 15 lunar years for boys.3 However, the age of responsibility for ta’zir crimes (crimes for
which fixed penalties are not provided in Islamic law) 4 is 18 years. For these crimes, convicted
children are sentenced to correctional measures. In contrast, criminal responsibility for crimes
punishable by hudud (punishments fixed by God) or qisas (punishment or retribution in kind),
which carry mandatory punishments such as death, is maintained at the age of “maturity” that is
9 lunar years for girls and 15 lunar years for boys.
Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code, amended in 2013, allows judges to pronounce alternative
sentences in circumstances where the juveniles “do not realize the nature of the crime committed
or its prohibition, or if there is uncertainty about their full mental development, according to their
age”.5 The Article further adds that “the court may ask the opinion of forensic medicine or resort
to any other method that it sees appropriate in order to establish the full mental development”.6
However, there is no defined criteria for assessing “mental development”, which is left to the
sole discretion of the judge. The court is not required to seek the opinion of experts from the
Legal Medicine Organization state institution, or to request any other expert opinion to reach a

1
CCPR.6.5.S.1; CRC.37.1.S.2
CCPR.6.5.P.1
CCPR.6.5.O.1
2
Article 146 and 147, Islamic Penal Code (2013), English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center,
https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
3
Article 1210, note 1
4
Ta’zir crimes are acts that are in violation of Shari’a laws and/or the Islamic Government’s regulations. While the punishments
for crimes under hudud or qisas are provided under Shari’a law, taz’ir crimes do not have codified and fixed penalties under
Shari’a law, which are determined at the discretion of the Islamic Government .
5
https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
6
See https://iranhrdc.org/english-translation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/.

1

Select target paragraph3