Resumption Of Death Penalty In Iraq Sparks UN Concern
New York, Dec 14 2009 12:10PM The resumption of the death penalty in Iraq earlier this year is a source of great concern
to the United Nations, according to the world body’s latest report covering the human rights situation in the country.
Iraqi officials have cited security conditions as a reason for the resumption of the executions, which had not been
carried out since August 2007, this May, the new publication said.
“The secretary surrounding the executions remained an additional issue of concern,” it noted.
Finding flaws in the administration of justice and violations of due process in criminal trials, the UN Assistance
Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) had called on the Government
earlier this year to declare a moratorium on all executions.
“It is of particular concern that many persons are convicted on the basis of confessions often gathered under duress or
torture, while their right not to be compelled to testify against oneself or to confess guilt is often violated,” the
“Until these violations are addressed, the imposition of the death penalty by Iraqi courts will remain arbitrary and
contrary to the international human rights standards.”
The number of people receiving capital sentences has risen, with 324 death sentences having been handed down by the High
Judicial Council in the first half of 2009.
The first six months of this year was also characterized by further improvements in the security situation, but in spite
of a drop in the number of attacks carried out, both indiscriminate and targeted killings continued, the publication
Reports indicate that the number of attacks against people based on their perceived sexual orientation is on the rise,
while many cases of violence against women and “honour”-related homicides go unpunished.
“Significant progress remains to be achieved to fully restore the rule of law and to systematically address the issue of
impunity,” the study underscored. “UNAMI has continuously stated that security in Iraq may not be sustainable unless
significant steps are taken to uphold the rule of law and human rights and has continued to offer assistance to this
The number of civilian casualties has fallen, with the death toll in May being the lowest recorded since 2003. But
number of civilians killed doubled the following month.
“The UN reiterates that deliberate attacks against civilians are tantamount to crimes against humanity and violate the
laws and customs applicable in armed conflict,” the report said. “The perpetrators should be brought to justice.”