UNITED NATIONS

Press Release



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HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS
EXPRESSES REGRET OVER EXECUTIONS
IN BAGHDAD

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15 January 2007



United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour has expressed regret over the execution in Baghdad today of Awad Hamad Al-Bandar and Barzan Ibrahim Al-Hassan, who had been charged with crimes against the civilian population of Dujail, Iraq.

The High Commissioner reiterated her concerns about the fairness and impartiality of the Dujail trial before the Iraqi High Tribunal and recalled that under international law the application of capital punishment was only possible under narrow, strictly regulated circumstances. “The imposition of the death penalty after a trial and appeal proceedings that do not respect the principles of due process amounts to a violation of the right to life”, she said.

“I am opposed to capital punishment under all circumstances”, the High Commissioner added. “In this particular case, not only is the penalty irremediable, it may also make it more difficult to have a complete judicial accounting of other, equally horrendous, crimes committed in Iraq”.

“Those responsible for serious human rights violations must be brought to justice, and this is crucial for effective national reconciliation”, the High Commissioner said. “But, to be credible and durable, the fight against impunity must be based on respect for international human rights standards and the rule of law, and must not come at their expense”.


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