Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions A/HRC/14/24/Add.1
para 386c
Full recommendation:
International law, in particular Article 6(4) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, guarantees the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence from the State
authorities. Where the diyah pardon is available, it must be supplemented by a separate, public
system for seeking an official pardon or commutation.
Assessment using Impact Iran human rights indicators1
Under the Iranian Criminal Code of Procedure, crimes punishable by death are subject to appeal
in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court may uphold or overturn a sentence, but it cannot
increase or decrease the sentence, which limits the right of individuals to seek commutation. In
cases where the Supreme Court overturns a sentence, the case will be remanded to a court of first
instance, which may insist on issuing the original verdict.
In cases of qisas (retribution-in-kind) for murder, Articles 386 to 416 of the Islamic Penal Code
(2013) provide a range of punishments. The responsibility for choosing the punishment is placed
on the victim’s family or next of kin by the state. They can choose retaliation by the death
penalty, accept monetary compensation called diya (blood money) or to forgive the defendant.
Where the next of kin choose retribution, the victim’s next of kin or their representative must be
present at the execution. 2 According to Iran Human Rights, the next of kin are also encouraged
to carry out the executions themselves 3 and have received several reports of family members
conducting executions, with the last case taking place in March 2021 where a daughter carried
out her mother’s execution. 4
The victim’s next of kin can pardon or commute the death sentence of the accused by accepting
diyah (compensation known as “blood money”). There are several institutions that can intervene
to mediate cases of individuals sentenced with qisas, notably in order to commute qisas into
diyah 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. 5 There is
1

CCPR.6.4.S.1
CCPR.6.4.P.1
CCPR.6.4.O.1
2
Article 43(ch) of Regulation 9000/27863/100, 17 June 2019 “Regulations on the Enforcement of hodud, death penalty,
amputation, qisasof life, body parts and injury, diyat, flogging, exile, loss of country, compulsory residence and prohibition of
residence in certain places or areas” https://rc.majlis.ir/fa/law/show/115267
3
https://iranhr.net/en/articles/4726
4
https://iranhr.net/en/articles/4668/
5
Report of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, January 2019,

1

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