Published: 2023-09-30 16:15
Last Updated: 2023-12-02 21:05
The number of victims of the Hamdaniya fire, which broke out during a wedding party and turned into a tragedy in moments, has risen to 107, according to the Iraqi Ministry of Health Saturday.
Iraqi authorities reported that four injured individuals have been sent for treatment outside of Iraq, with instructions to send nine others abroad.
Questions regarding the anticipated penalties for those convicted in the Ninawa wedding incident have emerged, following the tragic event that resulted in hundreds of casualties, igniting social media platforms across the Arab world.
In terms of the legal consequences for individuals involved in the fire, an Iraqi legal expert explained that the relevant provision is Article 342 of Penal Code No. 111 of 1969. This article stipulates the punishment for causing arson to both movable and immovable properties, carrying a prison sentence of up to 15 years.
In cases where a person dies as a result, the court has the authority to impose the death penalty, depending on its judgment and the convictions of the parties involved in the investigation.
According to the Iraqi News Agency "INA," quoting government spokesperson Bassam Al-Awadi, there is a possibility of including the victims of the Al-Hamdaniya tragedy under the Martyrs Establishment Law, entailing appropriate compensations and covering the costs of treating the injured.
Relatives of the victims also have the right to seek civil compensation from those responsible for the incident, or from the administrative authorities, which include the governor and district commissioner, provided that the court determines that the fire was a result of human error.
These claims are pursued after the completion of the investigation and the proceedings of the inquiry court and criminal court.
In terms of accountability, the responsibility may extend to the owners of the hall for failing to take necessary safety precautions and approvals. Additionally, illegal construction, if proven by the court, could further implicate them under Article 342 of the Penal Code.
Furthermore, administrative officials overseeing the area where the incident occurred, such as the district commissioner and governor, could also face significant liability under Law No. 154 of 2001, which imposes a prison sentence of three years for anyone encroaching on public property or constructing outside of urban planning. Thus, the issuance of approvals and permission for construction from the Tourism Authority, the governor, or the district commissioner makes them collectively responsible for this incident.
Regarding the initial investigations with the administrative officials who allowed the construction of non-compliant buildings, it is possible for the Prime Minister to initiate an inquiry into their actions. He can temporarily suspend the governor and district commissioner for two months if the investigation is incomplete, before ultimately referring them to the courts.
Notably, these legal considerations may evolve as the investigation progresses, and any final judgments will be made by the appropriate legal authorities based on the evidence presented.
On Tuesday, Sept. 26, a fire broke out at a Christian wedding party in northern Iraq.