Iraq-Universal Periodic Review-Death Penalty-March 2019

The Advocates for Human Rights, along with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty and Harm Reduction International, submitted a joint stakeholder report on the death penalty in Iraq for the 34th session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review.  

This report addresses Iraq’s compliance with human rights obligations with regard to its use of the death penalty. Iraq maintains the death penalty and has stepped up its executions in recent years.  The high number of executions in 2017 is particularly concerning in light of evidence of the use of torture in coercing confessions related to crimes punishable by the death penalty, lack of access to counsel for many suspects charged with death-eligible offenses, the judicial system’s reluctance to investigate allegations of torture, allegations of unfair trials, and a lack of transparency in court proceedings. While Iraq is to be commended for extending an invitation to the United Nations’ Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary executions to visit Iraq in 2017, and for its cooperation during the visit, the Government of Iraq has not implemented the majority of the 2014 recommendations, including recommendations it supported in the 2014 UPR.

The authors of the report make several recommendations for the Government of Iraq:

  • Commute the sentences of persons sentenced to death and immediately adopt a formal moratorium on the death penalty with a view to its eventual abolition
  • Fully implement the recommendations regarding the death penalty presented by the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions
  • Adhere to the Iraqi Constitution and the laws of Iraq with regard to detainees and criminal proceedings, including bringing detainees before a court within 24 hours to be formally charged with a crime and ensuring that all detainees are provided prompt access to legal counsel of their choosing, and consider video or other monitoring of all interrogations to deter the use of torture and ill-treatment during questioning