(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. Reportedly, four convicted child offenders were executed in 2019 in
the Islamic Republic of Iran.6
In qisas cases, the pardon or commutation of the sentence is based solely on the request of the
victim or the victim’s guardian. 7 The accused is unable to request their own pardon or
commutation, but there are a number institutions that can intervene to mediate cases of children
sentenced with qisas, notably in order to commute qisas into diya sentences (blood money).
These institutions include a reconciliation commission, a working group tasked to support
mediation with the victim’s next of kin, conflict resolution council branches and the Women and
Children and Protection Office of the Judiciary. 8 There is no readily available information
indicating the number of cases concerning children that have been received, reviewed and
adjudicated by these institutions. However, the Government of the Islamic of Iran noted that the
State was not intervening in cases of qisas, which “is only possible on the basis of the request of
the owners of the blood”. 9 Ultimately, if the next of kin of the victim does not grant pardon in
exchange for diyah, the sentence must be executed, with no option for the accused, including
children, to seek pardon or commutation from the State.
Additionally, Article 91 of the 2013 Islamic Penal Code allows judges to issue 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”.10 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”.11 In 2017, a number of special procedure mandate holders described ongoing
executions of child offenders in the Islamic Republic of Iran as “conclusive proof of the failure
of the 2013 amendments to stop the execution of individuals sentenced to death as children”. 12 In
2019, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
found that the aforementioned assessment of the mental development of the accused at the time
of the offence was “arbitrary and inconsistent, and at the sole discretion of the judge, who can

6

ECPM, Iran Human Rights, https://www.ecpm.org/wp-content/uploads/Rapport-iran-2020-gb-070420-WEB.pdf
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 2019,
https://undocs.org/Home/Mobile?FinalSymbol=A%2FHRC%2F40%2F67&Language=E&DeviceType=Desktop
8 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 2019,
https://undocs.org/Home/Mobile?FinalSymbol=A%2FHRC%2F40%2F67&Language=E&DeviceType=Desktop
9 Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 2019,
https://undocs.org/en/A/HRC/40/67
10 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/
11
See 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/.
12 See OHCHR News, www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21547&LangID=E
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