Concluding Observation Human Rights Committee CCPR/C/IRN/CO/3 para 12
Full recommendation:
The State party should consider abolishing the death penalty or at least revise the Penal Code to
restrict the imposition of the death penalty to only the “most serious crimes”, within the meaning
of article 6, paragraph 2, of the Covenant and the Committee’s general comment No. 6 (1982)
on the right to life. It should ensure that, whenever it is imposed, the requirements of articles 6
and 14 of the Covenant are fully met. It should also ensure that everyone sentenced to death,
after exhaustion of all legal avenues of appeal, has an effective opportunity to exercise the right
to seek pardon or commutation of sentence from the relevant authorities. The State party should
furthermore prohibit the use of public executions, as well as stoning as a method of execution.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators 1
A. The Islamic Republic of Iran should consider abolishing the death penalty or at
least revise the Penal Code to restrict the imposition of the death penalty to only the
“most serious crimes”
In its latest General Comment on Article 6, the Human Rights Committee explicitly stipulated
that the term “the most serious crimes” must “be read restrictively and appertain only to crimes
of extreme gravity, involving intentional killing. Crimes not resulting directly and intentionally
in death […], although serious in nature, can never serve as the basis, within the framework of
Article 6, for the imposition of the death penalty. In the same vein, a limited degree of
involvement or of complicity in the commission of even the most serious crimes, […], cannot
justify the imposition of the death penalty.”2 Habibollah Lafiti, Ehsan (Esma’il) Fattahian and
Sherko Moarefi were convicted for their membership and/or activities on the behalf of a
prohibited Kurdish armed group, without substantial proof that they were directly involved in
“the most serious crime,” which therefore may constitute arbitrary deprivation of life.3
The death penalty continues to be applied in the Islamic Republic of Iran to a wide range of
offences that do not meet the threshold of “most serious crimes,” in other words, crimes that do
not involve intentional killing, 4 in contravention with article 6 of the International Covenant on
Civil and Political Rights. For example, the death penalty may be applied in some cases of
1

CCPR.6.2.S.1; CCPR.6.4.S.1; CCPR.7.1.S.1; CCPR.14.3.S.4; CCPR.14.3.S.4;
CCPR.6.2.P.1; CCPR.6.4.P.1; CCPR.7.1.P.1; CCPR.14.3.P.2; ; CCPR.14.3.P.2;
CCPR.6.2.O.2; CCPR.6.4.O.1; CCPR.7.O.1; CCPR.14.3.O.3; CCPR.14.3.O.3
2
UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), General comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September
2019, CCPR/C/GC/35, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5e5e75e04.html
3
UN Human Rights Committee (HRC), General comment no. 36, Article 6 (Right to Life), 3 September
2019, CCPR/C/GC/35, available at: https://www.refworld.org/docid/5e5e75e04.html
4
Human Rights Committee, general comment No. 36 (2018) on the right to life

1

Select target paragraph3