Subsidiary protection

AuthorEuropean Asylum Support Office (EU body or agency)
Guidance note | Iraq
January 2021
Subsidiary protection
Article 15(a) QD
Death penalty or execution
Death penalty is envisaged under the Iraqi Penal Code No.11 of 1969, the Anti-Terrorism Law, the
Military Penal Code and the Iraqi Internal Security Forces Penal Code of 2008. Under the 2005
Constitution of Iraq, the President ratifies death sentences ‘issued by the competent courts’.
Crimes that carry the death penalty in Iraq include offences such as crimes against internal or
external security and state institutions, acts of terrorism, kidnapping, rape, drug trafficking leading
to death, prostitution, ‘aggravated’ murder and human trafficking leading to death, etc.
Iraq continues to carry out capital punishment and is among the top three countries in the Middle
East that impose and carry out executions. The death penalty is executed by hanging.
In the areas under its control, ISIL impos ed punishment such as for refusal to join them or for
transgressing the moral codes as they are set by ISIL and its strict interpretation of the Sharia Law.
This includes executions, which would fall under the scope of Article 15(a) QD.
Some profiles of applicants from Iraq may be at risk of death penalty or execution. In such cases
there could be nexus to a Convention ground (see for example the profile 2.1 Persons perceived to
be associated with ISIL).
In cases where there is no nexus to a reason for persecution under the definition of a refugee (for
example, in some cases of 2.20 Individuals accused of ordinary crimes), the need for subsidiary
protection under Article 15(a) QD should be examined.
Please note that exclusion considerations could be relevant.
Article 15(b) QD
Torture or inhuman or degrading tre atment or punishment
In the cases of applicants for whom torture or inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment may
be a real risk, there would often be a nexus to a reason for persecution under the definition of a
refugee, and such individuals would, therefore, qualify for refugee status. However, with reference
to cases where there is no nexus to a Convention ground and the applicant would not qualify for
refugee status, the need for subsidiary protection under Article 15(b) QD should be examined.
When examining the need for protection under Article 15(b) QD, the following considerations should
be taken into account:
Healthcare unavailability and socio-economic conditions: It is important to note that serious
harm must take the form of conduct on the part of a third party (Article 6 QD). In themselves,
the general unavailability of healthcare, education or other socio-economic elements (e.g.
situation of IDPs, difficulties in finding livelihood opportunities, housing) are not considered to

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