Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/40/67 para 75(a)
Full recommendation:
Pending implementation of the aforementioned recommendations, and without prejudice to the
binding obligation enshrined in the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to not sentence children to death and to not execute child
offenders, the Special Rapporteur recommends that the judiciary: (a) Require courts to
comprehensively assess mental development in all cases in line with article 91 of the Penal Code,
and to always seek expert advice from the relevant child development, psychology, psychiatry, and
social service fields as well as from the Iranian Legal Medicine Organization, with a view to
ensuring that the child is exempted from the death penalty.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code, revised in 2013, allows judges to give alternative sentences
in circumstances where the juveniles “do not realise the nature of the crime committed or its
prohibition, or if there is uncertainty about their full mental development, according to their age”.2
The Article further adds that “the court may ask for the opinion of forensic medicine or resort to
any other method that it sees as appropriate in order to establish the full mental development [of
the accused]”. In 2017, a number of UN special procedure mandate holders considered the 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”.3 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 choose
whether to seek medical advice or not”.4 The Legal Medicine Organization has reportedly
repeatedly ignored past medical records of mental disorders to issue their opinion on a child’s
maturity.5 6 7

1

CCPR.6.5.S.1; CRC.6.1.S.2; CRC.37.4.S.1;CCPR.6.5.P.1; CRC.37.4.P.1; CCPR.6.5.O.1; CCPR.6.5.O.2; CRC.37.4.O.2
Article 91, 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
See OHCHR News, www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21547&LangID=E
4
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
5
Amnesty International, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2020/04/iran-execution-of-young-man-vengeful-and-cruel
6
OHCHR News, https://www.ohchr.org/en/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=24581&LangID=E
7
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
2

1

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