Mitigating Circumstances in the ICC Sentencing Judgments

Document Type : Original Article


Associate Professor of International Law Department, Faculty of Law, Islamic Azad University, Central Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran.


The International Court of Justice has scrutinized both aggravating and mitigating circumstances from its ever lightest sentence against Mr. Almahdi in 2016 to its heaviest sentence against Mr. Ntaganda in 2019 and other sentencing decisions. This paper is aimed to analyze principles governing on mitigating circumstances in ICC Judgments recommendable to Iranian domestic law. In order to scrutinize the evidence and reasoning of the parties regarding the aggravating or mitigating circumstances, the trial chamber may on its own motion or at the request of the Prosecutor or the accused hold a further hearing to hear any evidence or submissions relevant to the sentence. Then it accepts or rejects the submissions of the parties one by one by its detailed reasoning. This procedure is advisable for our domestic law.
In this Descriptive-Analytical research analyzing and comparing various sentencing judgments it is found that to establish mitigating circumstances, the court takes into account all personal circumstances and behaviors of the convicted person from early steps of committing crimes, after commission, surrender to the court, during detention, trial and imprisonment. Because of the gravity of international crimes even if various mitigating circumstances established, the minimum imprisonment will not be less than two years.


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