UNICEF Iran Office Welcomes Positive Revisions in the Islamic Penal Code Relating to Children
In a joint message by UNICEF Iran Representative and UNICEF Iran Goodwill Ambassador;
Tehran, 28 February 2012-UNICEF Iran Office welcomes positive revisions related to children in the Islamic Penal Code recently approved by the Parliament and the Guardian Council.
UNICEF is pleased to see that in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the “best interest of the child” is now a fundamental principle that shall guide all court decisions under the revised Islamic Penal Code (IPC).
The abolishment of corporal punishment for children under the category of discretionary penalties (Ta’azir); the introduction of alternative punishments, such as community service, to minimize the incidences of depriving children from their liberty; the reference to age and severity of the offence in the determination of the punishment; and, the new power given to judges to assess progress in the rehabilitation of child delinquents and eventually, to discontinue punishment, especially in the case of deprivation from liberty, are all most welcomed. UNICEF hopes that these revisions will pave the way for the key juvenile justice principles of diversion and alternative to deprivation of liberty to be eventually fully reflected in the legal system of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Under the categories of Hudoud and Qisas, the revised Code introduces in addition to the age, the notions of mental maturity and ability to reason as key elements regarding the sentencing of juvenile offenders under capital offences. In this respect, the judge will now be entitled to use forensic evidence and to seek the views of professionals to determine the mental maturity and ability to reason of the defendant. UNICEF hopes that these new provisions will ultimately reduce the incidence of the execution of minors, pending the abolition of the death penalty for minors and the rising of the age of criminal responsibility
“Hopefully with the new Islamic Penal Code in place, we shall witness enhanced protection for children in conflict with the law.” said UNICEF Representative in Iran, Mohamed El-Munir Safieldin, “In the same spirit, I would like to once again reiterate that child rights spelled out in Islam and in the Convention on the Rights of Child have a lot in common, and mutually reinforce the protection afforded to all children”.
UNICEF hopes that the additional bills currently under consideration will further enhance the protection of children rights.