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Forgiveness WorkMercy, Law, and Victims' Rights in Iran$
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Arzoo Osanloo

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691172040

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691172040.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM PRINCETON SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.princeton.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Princeton University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in PRSO for personal use.date: 21 September 2021

Codifying Mercy

Codifying Mercy

Judicial Reform, Affective Process, and Judge’s Knowledge

(p.61) 2 Codifying Mercy
Forgiveness Work

Arzoo Osanloo

Princeton University Press

This chapter examines the final version of the penal code, passed only in 2013. Since just after the Iranian Revolution, this is the first set of transformative revisions in substantive criminal law. The chapter outlines how the “coloring in” of the code compels judicial officials to consider alternative approaches to sanctioning. The courtroom serves as a space in which the state, through its judicial officials, corrals victims' instincts for revenge. As an affective space, the courtroom also conditions how judges reason and inflects subjectivities of all the parties in the courtroom. By serving in the role of arbiter in the ultimate settling of accounts, the state's aim is to contain extrajudicial violence. It does this, in part, by attending to the victim's need for justice, or rather, through providing an outlet for a “healthy” emotional response to an injury—the desire for retaliation. Judges attempt to make victims whole and reestablish their sense of lost dignity. However, members of the judiciary are aware of the risk to the foundational impartiality of the system and the stature of the judges should they press victims' families too hard, particularly during the merits phase of the case.

Keywords:   penal code, substantive criminal law, judicial officials, sanctioning, courtroom, victims, arbiter, judges

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