Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
A/HRC/40/67 para 74(b)
Full recommendation:
The Special Rapporteur recommends that the judiciary: (b) Pending legislative review, urgently
issue a circular which requires all judges not to sentence children to death on the basis of qisas
or hudud crimes, and which requires presiding judges to order retrials for all child offenders on
death row without recourse to the death penalty.
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 under 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 Shari’a law) 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. Crimes such as adultery,
homosexuality, fornication, drinking alcohol, obscenity against the Prophet, theft, moharebeh
(fighting against the God), and corruption on earth, are among the crimes that included under
Hudud crimes, and Murder, mutilation are among crimes that punishable by Qisas.
Article 91 of the Islamic Penal Code, revised in 2013, allows judges to pronounce 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”.5 The Article further adds that “the court may ask for the opinion of forensic medicine or
resort to any other method that it sees 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”.6 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
1

CCPR.6.5.S.1; CRC.6.1.S.2; CCPR.6.5.P.1; CCPR.6.5.O.1; CCPR.6.5.O.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 punihsment of
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 and are determined at the discretion of the Islamic Government.
5
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/
6
See OHCHR News, www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21547&LangID=E
2

1

Select target paragraph3