Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic
of Iran A/HRC/43/61 para 68(f)
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur recommends that the Government, the judiciary and the parliament:
Amend the Islamic Penal Code and the Code of Criminal Procedure to ensure that confessions
alone are not sufficient for establishing guilt.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 164 of the Islamic Penal Code defines confessions as self-incriminating statements made
by the accused.2 Article 171 gives primary weight to confessions “If an accused confesses to
commission of an offense, his/her confession shall be admissible and there is no need for further
evidence”3. Article 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure stipulates that convictions can be
issued on the basis of voluntary given confessions alone.
In some circumstances, however, Iranian law recognizes that confessions may not be relied upon.
Article 171 states that in cases where the investigation of the judge reveals evidence in conflict
with the accused person’s confessions, the court shall conduct investigation and other evidence
shall be mentioned in the verdict.4 Similarly, under Note 2 of Article 119 of the 2015 Code of
Criminal Procedure, if confessions are the basis of a verdict, the trial judge must hear them firsthand in court. Under Article 360 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, the court rules on the
admissibility of confessions, meaning whether the confessions have been voluntary, and if there
are no doubts about their accuracy, issues a verdict on their basis. If the court doubts the
accuracy of the confessions, it may initiate an investigation.5
Despite these provisions, both the Islamic Penal Code and the Criminal Code of Procedure fail to
place the burden of proof on the prosecution to show that statements have been given voluntarily,
undermining the right to presumption of innocence.
Ultimately, Iranian law merely obliges the judge to reinvestigate the accused if there are any
doubts about the accuracy, but confessions may still constitute the sole basis of a court’s verdict.
1

CCPR.14.2.S.1
CCPR.14.2.P.2
CCPR.14.2.O.2
2
Islamic Penal Code (2013), English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/englishtranslation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
3
Islamic Penal Code (2013), English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/englishtranslation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
4
Islamic Penal Code (2013), English translation, Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, https://iranhrdc.org/englishtranslation-of-books-i-ii-of-the-new-islamic-penal-code/
5
Article 389(e), Code of Criminal Procedure (2015).

1

Select target paragraph3