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Death penalty or execution

Last updated: June 2019

Death penalty is envisaged under the Iraqi Penal Code No.11 of 1969, the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Military Penal Code and the Iraqi Internal Security Forces Penal Code of 2008. Under the 2005 Constitution of Iraq, the President ratifies death sentences ‘issued by the competent courts’.

Crimes that carry the death penalty in Iraq include offences such as crimes against internal or external security and state institutions, acts of terrorism, kidnapping, rape, drug trafficking leading to death, prostitution, ‘aggravated’ murder and human trafficking leading to death, etc.

Iraq continues to carry out capital punishment and is among the top three countries in the Middle East that impose and carry out executions. The death penalty is executed by hanging.

In the areas under its control, ISIL imposed punishment such as for refusal to join them or for transgressing the moral codes as they are set by ISIL and its strict interpretation of the Sharia Law. This includes executions, which would fall under the scope of Article 15(a) QD.

Some profiles of applicants from Iraq may be at risk of death penalty or execution. In such cases there could be nexus to a Convention ground (see for example the profile 2.1 Persons (perceived to be) affiliated with ISIL).

In cases where there is no nexus to a reason for persecution under the definition of a refugee (for example, in some cases of 2.20 Individuals accused of ordinary crimes), the need for subsidiary protection under Article 15(a) QD should be examined.

Please note that exclusion considerations could be relevant.