part of the selection process.7 8 These discriminatory and vague criteria enable the appointment
of judges based on their political loyalty and undermine the independence and impartiality of the
judiciary. There are reports of formal investigations undertaken by Iranian authorities into
individuals with judicial functions following accusations of corruption, bribery and abuse of
power, yet there is a dearth of information regarding whether the motivations behind these
investigations were political in nature or a result of an impartial criminal process.9 10
The selection process of judges in Iran impacts the judicial process and undermine due process
of law. In 2014, a Judiciary’s circular listed the most common complaints against judges and
numerous due process violations.11 These included unlawful arrest, failure to renew temporary
detention orders within the prescribed time, failure to render decisions within the prescribed
time, ruling prior to the conclusion of investigation and trial, issuing decisions in courts of
original jurisdiction without convening a trial session, issuance of “unfounded and
undocumented” rulings, issuing rulings outside the scope of the complaint, and
unpleasant, inappropriate, and insulting conduct.12 There is little transparency regarding
these complaints and their outcome and not all are considered. During the Iranian year 1395
(March 20, 2016 –March 19, 2017), Iran’s General Inspection office received 30,315 complaints.
The office sent 3,464 emails to those who had filed complaints. Written follow-ups of local and
provincial investigations amounted to 1,502.13 Due process violations are particularly grave in
Iran in light of the strikingly high numbers of executions conducted by the State. At least 5,079
executions have been reportedly conducted Iran since the beginning of 2012 through May 27,
2020.14
B. The State party should also ensure that judges, in interpreting legislation and in
relying on religious principles, do not reach verdicts that are in contravention of the
rights and principles as laid down in the Covenant.
Under Article 220 of the Islamic Penal Code and Article 167 of the Iranian Constitution, a judge
may refer to Islamic law to rule on crimes not explicitly defined in the law. These articles require
judges to rely on non-codified law – namely authoritative Islamic sources and fatwas (a ruling on
a point of Islamic law given by a recognized authority) – to convict and sentence individuals to
7

Article 14 Guidelines for the Recruitment, Selection, and Apprenticeship of Applicants for Judgeship and Employment of
Judges (2013)
8
http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/90547 ; http://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/91044
9
Iran International https://iranintl.com/en/iran/president-rouhani%E2%80%99s-brother-sentenced-five-years-prison
10
OCCRP https://www.occrp.org/en/27-ccwatch/cc-watch-briefs/10035-iran-new-conservative-chief-justice-fires-60-corruptjudges
11
Joint submission to the Human Rights Committee from the Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, Iran Human Rights Document
Center, Impact Iran and Human Rights Activists in Iran, 2020,
https://tbinternet.ohchr.org/Treaties/CCPR/Shared%20Documents/IRN/INT_CCPR_ICS_IRN_42313_E.pdf
12
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, https://www.iranrights.org/library/document/2994
13
Ministry of Justice 2017 report on the accomplishments of the Judiciary in the year
1395. https://www.justice.ir/FileSystem/View/File.aspx?FileId=5282d9cd-913e-4c78-b3d8-b39475070de2
14
Abdorrahman Boroumand Center, https://www.iranrights.org/memorial

2

Select target paragraph3