The Iraq Ministry of Justice [official website, in Arabic] on Monday reported the execution [press release, in Arabic] of 15 men and two women convicted of terrorism. The individuals were convicted under Article 4 [text, PDF] of Iraq's anti-terrorism law, which requires a sentence of death for any who are found to have committed a terrorist act as defined by the law. Human Rights Watch (HRW) [advocacy website] has reported [press release] that although Iraq's leadership has promised justice system reforms, more than 50 people were executed in the month of April, with the expectation that an additional 150 people would be executed in the near future. Nearly 70 people have been executed [CNN report] in Iraq so far this year.
Iraq has sparked international controversy over its use of executions and other human rights concerns.
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official profile] in April condemned [JURIST report] Iraq's execution of 21 prisoners [JURIST report] convicted of terrorism earlier that month, urging the country's compliance with international human rights obligations. Also in April Iraq announced plans to reform [JURIST report] its de-Baathification laws to allow former members of Saddam Hussein's regime to serve in the public sector. De-Baathification is a controversial subject that should be approached with caution [JURIST op-ed], according to a JURIST op-ed by Professor Haider Ala Hamoudi. In February, HRW criticized [JURIST report] Iraq for detaining and persecuting journalists.