UN Authority Figures

UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: Saudi Arabia

Abdullah ah-Zaher became the youngest person given the death sentence after being arrested for attending a protest four years ago at the age of 15.
Source: Express UK, December 17, 2015

Mission of the Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice: "The Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice (CCPCJ) is the United Nations body of Member States responsible for setting out global strategy to prevent crime and promote stable criminal justice systems. The 40-member UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice formulates international policies and recommends activities in the field of crime control...The Commission offers nations a forum for exchanging expertise and information on matters of crime prevention and criminal justice and to determine strategies and priorities for combating crime at the global level....Priority areas mandated by the [Economic and Social] Council when it established the Commission in 1992 are: international action to combat national and transnational crime...and improving the efficiency and fairness of criminal justice administration systems." (Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice website)

Term of office: 2016-2018.

Saudi Arabia's Record on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice:
"Under the country's interpretation and practice of sharia, capital punishment can be imposed for a range of nonviolent offenses, including apostasy, sorcery, and adultery... Closed court proceedings in some capital cases, however, made it impossible to determine positively whether authorities allowed the accused to present a defense or granted basic due process. Since the country lacks a written penal code listing criminal offenses and the associated penalties for them, punishment--including the imposition of capital punishment--is subject to considerable judicial discretion in the courts. The government also imposes death sentences for crimes committed by minors... The courts continued to use corporal punishment as a judicial penalty, usually in the form of floggings, a practice government officials defended as dictated by sharia. According to local human rights activists, police conducted the floggings according to a set of guidelines determined by local interpretation of sharia. The police official administering the punishment must place a copy of the Quran under his arm that prevents raising the hand above the head, limiting the ability to inflict pain on the person subjected to the punishment, and instructions forbid police from breaking the skin or causing scarring when administering the lashes... The semiautonomous Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (CPVPV), ...monitors public behavior to enforce strict adherence to the official interpretation of Islamic norms... the Ministry of Interior, to which the majority of forces with arrest power reported, maintained broad authority to arrest and detain persons indefinitely without judicial oversight, notification of charges against them, or effective access to legal counsel or family. Authorities held persons for months and sometimes years without charge or trial, and reportedly failed to advise them promptly of their rights, including their legal right to be represented by an attorney... The government charged a number of individuals with crimes related to their exercise of free speech during the year... The law does not recognize spousal rape as a crime. The government enforced the law based on its interpretation of sharia, and courts often punished victims as well as perpetrators for illegal "mixing of genders," even when there was no conviction for rape. Victims also had to prove that the rape was committed, and women's testimony in court is worth half the weight of that of a man. Consequently, due to these legal and social penalties, authorities brought few cases to trial. The government did not maintain public records on prosecutions, convictions, or punishments... most rape cases were likely unreported because victims faced societal and familial reprisal, including diminished marriage opportunities, criminal sanction up to imprisonment, or accusations of adultery or sexual relations outside of marriage, which are punishable under sharia." (US State Department's Country Report on Human Rights Practices 2015, Saudi Arabia)