3. State Party Reports
[Parts of State party report relating specifically to relevant legal minimum ages, and articles 37 and 40]
I. IMPLEMENTATION OF THE ARTICLES OF THE CONVENTION
7. In the Iraqi Civil Code, a child is defined as every human being below the age of 18 years. The Juvenile Welfare Act No. 76 of 1983 places children in the following categories, by age group:
8. It should be noted that the term "child" is not used in Iraqi legislation, which employs only the terms "youngster", "juvenile" and "adolescent". This does not affect the validity of that legislation; it merely reflects a desire for legal precision, bearing in mind the fact that the age of majority, which is set at 18 years in Iraqi law, is consistent with the Convention.
Articles 37 and 40
129. The legislation in force, and particularly the Juvenile Welfare Act No. 76 of 1983, regulate matters involving juvenile delinquency, as well as the judgement, treatment and social rehabilitation of juvenile delinquents, in a manner consistent with moral values and principles. The said Act calls for the early detection of juveniles who are prone to delinquency in order to rectify their behaviour before they become delinquent and to determine the guardian's responsibility in respect of any dereliction of his duties towards the youngster, child or juvenile or towards society as a whole.
130. With regard to cruel treatment or torture of children, we wish to point out that article 22 (a) of the Constitution stipulates that: "Human dignity must be safeguarded. The practice of any form of torture is prohibited."
131. The penal legislation, including articles 332 and 333 of the Penal Code (Act No. 111 of 1969), as amended, and the Code of Criminal Procedure (Act No. 23 of 1971), as amended, prohibits the use of physical or mental coercion during the conduct of investigations. This applies to adults and children alike, no age limits being specified.
132. If a preadolescent commits a felony punishable by life imprisonment or death, the juvenile court looks into the matter and, instead of the prescribed penalty, orders his placement in a rehabilitation school for preadolescents for a period of five years.
133. Article 79 of the Penal Code stipulates that: "The death sentence shall not be imposed on a person who, at the time of his commission of the offence, was over 18 but under 20 years of age. In such a case capital punishment shall be commuted to life imprisonment".
134. Under article 66 of the above-mentioned Code, a person who, at the time of his commission of an offence, was over 17 but under 18 years of age is designated as a "juvenile". If he was under 15 years of age he is designated as a "preadolescent" and, if he was over 15 but under 18 years of age, he is designated as an "adolescent". In this way, articles 67 to 78 of the Code prescribe penalties for juveniles, preadolescents and adolescents, in the event of their commission of a contravention or an offence, in a manner appropriate to their age and the stage of their mental development.
135. Iraqi law and legislation ensure the welfare of children, safeguard their dignity, accord them special treatment if they infringe the law, and endeavour to facilitate their rehabilitation and social reintegration in a proper manner. The legislature has taken care to ensure that less severe measures are taken against children or juveniles when they are detained and brought to trial for the commission of contraventions and offences, and they also enjoy the right of defence, as can be seen from the following:
136. A juvenile cannot be detained for the commission of a contravention, although he may be detained for the commission of a misdemeanour or a felony, if no one can be found to stand bail for him, for purposes of an examination and study of his character.
137. A juvenile accused of a felony punishable by death may be detained if he is over 14 years of age. In such a case the juvenile is detained at a surveillance centre and, in areas in which such centres do not exist, measures are taken to ensure that the juvenile is separated from adult detainees.
138. Immediately after their arrest, juveniles are placed in the custody of the juvenile police or, in places where such police do not exist, in the custody of ordinary police stations so that they can be brought before the examining magistrate or the juvenile court.
139. Criminal proceedings cannot be brought against a person who was under nine years of age at the time of his commission of an offence. If a youngster commits a legally punishable act, the court must order his delivery into the custody of his guardian, who has an obligation to implement the court's recommendations concerning maintenance of the youngster's good conduct under the terms of an undertaking backed by a financial guarantee.
140. Juveniles are tried in camera in the presence of their guardian or a relative and any person concerned with juvenile affairs whose presence the court might deem appropriate. The juvenile court may conduct the trial proceedings in the absence of the juvenile in cases involving offences prejudicial to ethics and public morals, provided that the trial is attended by a person authorized to represent the juvenile. However, the juvenile must appear in court to be informed of the measure taken against him.
141. The juvenile court may agree to a juvenile being defended by his guardian, a relative or a representative of a social institution without the need for a written power of attorney.
142. The juvenile court is presided over by a magistrate holding a rank not lower than grade 3 and includes two other members who must be specialized in criminal law or other fields relating to juvenile affairs and who must have not less than five years' experience. The court hears cases involving felonies and, acting in its capacity as a review court, considers the findings of the examining magistrate in accordance with the provisions of the above-mentioned Juvenile Welfare Act.
143. The regular and alternate president and members of the juvenile court are appointed by the Minister of Justice on the basis of a proposal by the President of the Court of Appeal.
144. A juvenile court of inquiry may be formed by order of the Minister of Justice at locations designated by him.
145. The court sends the case file containing its judgement in cases involving felonies to the Court of Cassation within 15 days from the date of its judgement so that it can be reviewed in accordance with the law. Appeals against other judgements and decisions may be lodged with the Court of Cassation within 30 days from the day following the date on which they were handed down.
151. Further to what has already been mentioned concerning the establishment by the State of centres for the disabled, hostels for orphans and vagrants, cultural and artistic centres, sports clubs and other institutions, the State has also established centres for the rehabilitation of juveniles convicted of committing offences. The principal centres are listed below:
152. The State provides social, educational and health services to safeguard the child's dignity and help the child to once again play his or her human role in society.
[Further information in State party report relating to the administration of juvenile justice]
I. Implementation of the Articles of the Convention
11. Articles 29 and 30 of the Juvenile Welfare Act of 1983 deal with the responsibility of guardians towards children. The Act prescribes penalties for any guardian who, by neglecting to care for a youngster or a juvenile or in any other way, induces the said youngster or juvenile to become a vagrant or a delinquent or to deliberately commit a misdemeanour or a felony.
16. Health-care centres and institutions, as well as orphanages, hostels for juveniles and the disabled and other institutions caring for children, have an official obligation to meet the standards laid down to fully ensure the safety, health and development of children. The State has allocated adequate budgetary resources to cover their expenses and has provided them with specialized technical staff, in addition to exercising constant supervision over their activities.
17. The legislation and enactments in force guarantee the economic, social, cultural, educational and legal interests of children. The principal legislative instruments in this regard include the Constitution and the following enactments:
Articles 12 and 13
40. There is nothing to prevent the courts from hearing the views and testimonies of children either directly or through their official representatives. For example, under article 50 of the Juvenile Welfare Act, a juvenile court is permitted to hear anyone entitled to defend a child and article 60 of the same Act permits the court to hear defence pleas on behalf of a juvenile from his or her guardian, a relative or a representative of social institutions without the need for a written power of attorney.
II. THE EFFECTS OF THE ECONOMIC EMBARGO ON THE RIGHTS OF THE CHILD IN IRAQ
209. The effects of the economic embargo on children are highlighted by the following phenomena:
D. The psychological effects on the behaviour of children
210. The effects of the embargo are not confined to the physical aspect. A field survey undertaken by Mustansiriya University at Baghdad and supervised by the Iraqi Child Support Association clearly showed that the adverse psychological consequences of the embargo on Iraqi children were just as severe as its physical consequences. The survey, which took a whole year to complete and ended in March 1993, was based on a sample of 2,000 male and female children from 50 schools dispersed throughout the city of Baghdad. Its findings were as follows:
Source: Initial reports of States parties due in 1996: Iraq, UN Doc. CRC/C/41/Add.3, paras. 7-8, 11, 16, 17, 40, 129-145, 151-152, 209-210 (9 December 1996)