UNAMI Human Rights Report 1 January 2009 – 30 June 2009

UNAMI’s 15th six monthly Human Rights Report for Iraq covers the period from 1 January 2009 to 30 June 2009. The report notes that during that period:

  • 31 death row inmates were executed, including one woman
  • According to information received from the High Judicial Council, between 1 January and 31 May 2009, Iraqi courts (excluding the Kurdistan Region) passed 324 death sentences, with the highest number of 102 capital punishments issued in Diwaniyah Governorate. 60% of the sentences were issued under the Anti-Terrorism Law No. 13 of 2005. By the end of the reporting period, officially provided data indicated that 150 cases have exhausted all available appeals procedures, and that more than 100 execution orders may have been signed by the Presidency Council.
  • 40,737 individuals remained in detention under the custody of the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MoLSA) and the Multi-National Force in Iraq (MNF-I). Additionally, 2,863 individuals were detained in the KRG bringing the number of detainees to 43, 600
  • an Independent High Commission for Human Rights was established by Law No. 53 of 2008, published in the Official Gazette, issue 4103 of 30 December 2008 [although no commissioners have been appointed]
  • 1.5 million Iraqis live outside the country, mostly in Syria and Jordan, and there are an additional 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) within Iraq

UNAMI recommends that the Government of Iraq review the Criminal Procedure Code No. 23 of 1971 including the rules of evidence with a view to correcting the practice of reliance on confessions in judicial proceedings, including confessions obtained under duress and torture, and ensuring that the right of detainees not to incriminate themselves is respected. In addition, a review of the Juvenile Welfare Law No. 76 of 1983 is recommended to ensure conformity with international standards.

UNAMI notes that the Iraqi Penal Code No.111 of 1969 and its amendments consider “honourable motives” while committing a crime to be a mitigating factor. For instance, it is possible for a person convicted pursuant to articles 405 and 406 of the Penal Code to receive a sentence of up to one year for a crime of homicide if the crime was committed to “wash the family’s honour.” Additionally, a husband who kills his wife when caught in the act of adultery can receive a sentence of only up to three years imprisonment. His testimony in court is sufficient evidence to prove adultery.