Islamic Republic of Iran

UNODC and the Iranian Judiciary Support "Criminal Liability of Legal Persons"



17 September 2014

The first national meeting on the "Criminal Liability of Legal Persons" was held in Tehran from the 16th to 17th September 2014. The meeting was held in cooperation with the Research Centre on Penal Law and Criminology of the Judiciary of the Islamic Republic of Iran, in consultation with UNODC Headquarters and collaboration with the Basel Institute on Governance of Switzerland. Mr. Oscar Solorzano, Asset Recovery Specialist from the International Centre for Asset Recovery, and Mr. Vladimir Kozin, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer from UNODC's Corruption and Economic Crime Branch in Vienna, provided international expert inputs.

Mr. Mehraj Singh, National Programme Associate at UNODC Iran's Crime, Justice, and Corruption Unit, introduced the objectives of the meeting to the 60 participants that included leading Judges, Prosecutors and legal experts from the Judiciary. The meeting addressed: (i) The legal basis and realization of criminal liability of legal persons, (ii) Foundation and international developments within criminal liability of legal persons, (iii) Sanctions versus criminal liability, (iv) Liability of legal persons - lessons learned from the Mechanism for the Review of Implementation of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), (v) Jurisdiction of the courts, (vi) Evidence to prove claims, (vii) Filing and processing a case, (viii) Initial Investigation, (xi) The Swiss model of criminal liability: substantive elements, initial investigations, evidence and application of criminal verdicts, and finally (x) Enforcement of criminal verdicts, with a view to national legislation.


Mr. Leik Boonwaat, UNODC Representative in Iran, said in his opening remarks that in any country the judiciary plays an important role in stabilizing the balance of power within government and in enhancing public confidence in the government. He said that an effective court system is an integral part of a functioning criminal justice system. He added that public prosecutors play a unique role in criminal justice systems and are obligated to uphold the rule of law and to ensure the accused receives a fair trial.

Mr. Boonwaat highlighted that UNODC has provided assistance to many Member States in enhancing the capacity of the judiciary to train judges and judicial officers in criminal cases, including in the following areas: supporting legislative reforms to enable/enhance prosecutorial independence and discretion; enhancing both accountability and public understanding of the prosecution service; and developing the professional and administrative skills necessary to meet the demands of increasingly complex criminal caseloads.

The UNODC Representative went on to say that Crime Prevention comprises strategies and measures that seek to reduce the risk of crimes occurring and their potential harmful effects on individuals and society, including fear of crime, by intervening to influence their multiple causes. He explained that as the custodian of the United Nations standards and norms on crime prevention and criminal justice, UNODC promotes strategies, plans and programmes which are multi-sectoral and multi-disciplinary, supporting Government leadership, at all levels, to create and maintain an institutional framework for effective crime prevention. Cooperation and partnerships between government ministries and authorities, the business sector and private citizens are required given the wide-ranging nature of the causes of crime and the skills and responsibilities required to address them, he added.
Mohammad Sepehrnoush  Dr. A. Tavajjohi, Head of the Judiciary's Research Centre on Penal Law and Criminology, said that with the fast changing economic development environment, it is important to face new realities. This included the need to better address criminal liability of legal persons as well as the rules of procedure. He expressed his appreciation for UNODC's efforts to support this national meeting. He thanked all participants, including the international experts and also the Iranian experts such as the Honourable Dr. Farajollahi, Supreme Court Judge, and Dr. Najafi, Professor of Law and Criminal Law, for providing their expert inputs that, amongst other things, look into the interactions within the Islamic Penal Code that relate to criminal liability of legal persons.
During the two-day event, the above-mentioned subjects were addressed in depth by the national and international speakers and analyzed from various perspectives. The meeting concluded with a panel discussion and was enriched through the analyses and interaction of the participants.

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