On October 20, 2021, the court of felonies at the Dhi Qar Court of Appeal in southern Iraq convicted two men, an Iraqi and an Algerian, of the crime of murder and sentenced both men to death. The men were found guilty of storming a currency exchange in the capital, Baghdad, several years ago and killing an Iraqi man in the process.
The court based the death sentences on Law No. 111 of 1969 on the Criminal Code, as amended.
Law No. 111 of 1969 on the Criminal Code
In accordance with article 406(1) of Law No. 111 of 1969, any person who willfully kills another in the following circumstances is punishable by death:
(a) If the killing is premeditated.
(b) If the killing occurs as a result of the use of toxic substances or explosives.
(c) If the motive for the killing is base, or the killing is in exchange for money, or the offender uses brutal methods in the commission of the offense.
(d) If the victim is a parent of the offender.
(e) If the victim is a public official or agent who is killed while performing his or her duty or employment or is killed as a consequence of such duty or employment.
(f) If the offender intends to kill two or more people and does so as a result of a single act.
(g) If the murder is related to one or more other murders or attempted murders.
(h) If the killing is committed as a prelude to the commission of a felony or misdemeanor punishable by a period of detention of not less than one year, or in order to facilitate its commission, or while carrying out the offense, or in order to enable the offender or accessory to make an escape or avoid punishment.
(i) If the offender has been sentenced to life imprisonment for murder and commits murder or attempts to do so during the term of his or her sentence.
Law No. 23 of 1972 on Criminal Procedure grants those convicted of felonies the right to appeal court of felonies verdicts to the Court of Cassation. (Law No. 23 of 1972, as amended, art. 257(A).)
The Court of Cassation will review petitions of appeal only for final verdicts issued by the court of felonies and not the court of misdemeanors. The Court of Cassation is the appellate court for verdicts issued by the court of felonies. (Art. 138(C).). A death sentence must automatically be sent to the Court of Cassation for review. (Art. 224(D).)
Both the prosecutor and the accused have the right to appeal to the Court of Cassation “provisions, decisions, and judgments” of the court of felonies that are based on breaches or mistakes of law or fundamental errors in the standard procedures or in the assessment of evidence or a penalty. (Art. 249.)
If a death sentence is passed, the court of felonies that issued the sentence must send the case file automatically to the Court of Cassation within 10 days, even if the accused has not filed a petition of appeal. (Art. 254.)
The Court of Cassation has the right to summon the relevant parties to hear their statements. (Art. 258.) The court may confirm or reverse any ruling issued by the lower courts, or return the case to the lower court for review or retrial. The court is to explain the grounds for its decision in its ruling. (Art. 259.) It may also change the legal description of the offense and review the penalty. (Art. 260.)