Last Updated: Tuesday, 26 July 2016, 15:07 GMT

Iceland: Criminal Code

Publisher National Legislative Bodies / National Authorities
Publication Date 1940
Cite as Iceland: Criminal Code [Iceland],   1940, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/3ae6b53014.html [accessed 26 July 2016]
Comments This is the official translation of the Code, No. 19/1940.Please note that only Chapters on Sexual Offences and Homicide and Bodily Harm are included here.
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

CHAPTER XXII
[Sexual Offences]1)

Article 194.

[Any person who, by using force or the threat of force, compels a person to participate in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts, shall be imprisoned for a term of at least 1 year, and a maximum of 16 years. "Force" here includes the deprivation of freedom of action by means of confinement, drugs or other comparable means.]2)

Article 195

[Any person who, by means of any other unlawful means of coercion, compels a person to participate in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts, shall be imprisoned for a term of up to 6 years.]3)

Article 196

[Any person who takes advantage of a person's mental illness or other mental disabilities in order to have sexual intercourse, or other sexual relations, with him or her, or takes advantage of other factors which render the person unable to resist participation in the act, or to understand its significance, shall be imprisoned for up to 6 years.]4)

Article 197

[If a supervisor or employee in a prison, mental hospital, care centre, educational institution or other similar institution has sexual intercourse or other sexual relations with an inmate, patient or pupil at the institution, he shall be imprisoned for up to 4 years.]5)

Article 198

[Any person who has sexual intercourse, or other sexual relations, with a person outside the bond of marriage or a cohabitational union by grossly abusing the fact that the person is financially dependent on him or her, is in his or her employment, or is under his or her protection in a relation of trust, shall be imprisoned for up to 3 years, and up to 6 years if the person is under the age of 18. Other forms of sexual harassment shall be punishable by imprisonment of up to 2 years.]6)

Article 199

[Any person who has sexual intercourse, or other sexual relations, with a person who wrongly believes that the fact is taking place within marriage or a cohabitational union, or who is under the misapprehension that he or she is participating in the act with a different person, shall be imprisoned for a term of up to 6 years.

The same punishment shall be applicable if the intercourse of other sexual act takes place under the pretence that what is happening is a form of medical or other scientific treatment.]7)

Article 200

[Any person who has sexual intercourse or other sexual relations with his or her child or other descendant shall be imprisoned for a term of up to 6 years, and up to 10 years if the child is under the age of 16.

Sexual harassment of a type other than that mentioned in paragraph 1 by a person involving his or her child or other descendant shall punishable by up 2 years' imprisonment, and up to 5 years' imprisonment if the child is under the age of 16.

Sexual intercourse or other sexual relations between siblings shall by punishable by up to 4 years' imprisonment. If one of the siblings, or both, are under the age of 18 when the act takes place, it may be decided to waive the punishment applicable to them.]8)

Article 201

[Any person who has sexual intercourse or other sexual relations with a child or young person under the age of 18 who is his or her adopted child, step-child, foster-child, the child of his or her cohabitational partner or a young person who has been entrusted to him or her for education or upbringing, shall be imprisoned for up to 6 years, and up to 10 years if the child is under the age of 16.

Sexual harassment of a type other than that mentioned in paragraph 1 shall be punishable by up to 2 years' imprisonment, and up to 4 years' imprisonment if the child is under the age of 16.]9)

Article 202

[Any person who has sexual intercourse or other sexual relations with a child under the age of 14 shall be imprisoned for up to 12 years. Other types sexual harassment shall be punishable by up to 4 years' imprisonment.

Any person who, by employing deception, gifts or other means, entices a young person aged 14-16 to participate in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts shall be imprisoned for up to 4 years.]10)

Article 203 …11)

Article 204

[If an offence against Article 201 or 202 is committed in ignorance of the age of the person whose rights are infringed, a correspondingly lighter punishment shall be imposed, but it may not be less than [the prescribed minimum period of imprisonment]12).]13)

Article 205

[Punishment under Articles 194-199, 202 and 204 may be waived if the man and woman between whom the sexual act took place, have subsequently married or entered into a cohabitational union, or, if they were married or in a cohabitational union at the time, have subsequently entered into or continued that union.]14)

Article 206

[Any person who practises prostitution for a living shall be imprisoned for up to 2 years.

Any person who bases his or her employment or living on the sexual promiscuity of others shall be imprisoned for up to 4 years.

The same punishment shall be applied for beguiling, encouraging or assisting a young person under the age of 18 to make his or her living from sexual promiscuity.

The same punishment shall also be applied for encouraging any person to leave or enter Iceland for the purpose of making his living from sexual promiscuity if the person concerned is under the age of 21 years or is unaware that this constitutes a purpose of the journey.

Any person who, through beguilement, encouragement or mediation, causes others to have sexual intercourse or other sexual relations in return for payment or to make the sexual promiscuity of others in to a source of income, e.g. by letting accommodation or by other means, shall be imprisoned for up to 4 years, and shall be fined or [imprisoned for up to 1 year]15) if there are mitigating circumstances.]16)

Article 207 …17)

Article 208

[If a person who is to be punished under Article 206 has previously been sentenced for a violation of that article, or has previously been sentenced to prison for an offence committed for financial gain, the punishment may be increased by up to one half.]18)

Article 209

[Any person who, through lewd conduct, offends people's sense of decency or causes a public scandal, shall be imprisoned for up to 4 years, or shall be sentenced to [up to 6 months' imprisonment]19) or a find if the offence is minor.]20)

Article 210

If pornography appears in print, the person responsible for its publication under the Publications Act shall be fined, […]21) or imprisoned for up to 6 months.

The same punishment shall apply to the production or importation, of the purpose of dissemination, sale, sharing out or other distribution, of pornographic publications, pornographic pictures or other such items, or to displaying them, and also to organizing a public lecture or performance which is similarly immoral.

Furthermore, the same punishment shall apply to releasing pornographic publications, pornographic pictures or other such items, to young people under the age of 18.

[Any person who is in possession of the photographs, films or comparable items depicting children in a sexual or obscene manner shall be liable to a fine. The same punishment shall apply to being in possession of photographs, films or comparable items showing children participating in sexual acts with animals or using objects in an obscene manner.]22)

CHAPTER XXIII
Homicide and Bodily Harm

Article 211

Any person who deprives another person of his life shall be liable to imprisonment of not less than 5 years, or for life.

Article 212

If a mother kills her baby during birth, or immediately after the birth, and there is reason to believe that she did so because of want or fear of disgrace, or as a result of an unbalanced or confused state of mind which came over her during the birth, she shall be imprisoned for up to 6 years.

In the case of an attempt only, in which the baby does not suffer any harm, punishment may be waived.

Article 213

Any person who deprives another person of his life in response to his urgent request shall be liable to up to 3 years' imprisonment […]23)

Article 214

Any person who encourages or assists another person to take his own life shall [be imprisoned for up to 1 year]24) or be fined. If this is done from selfish motives, the punishment shall be imprisonment of up to 3 years.

Article 215

If the death of a person results from the negligence of another person, the punishment shall be a fine […]25) or up to 6 years' imprisonment.

Article 216

A woman who kills her unborn child shall […]26) be imprisoned for up to 2 years. If there are particular mitigating circumstances, it may be decided to waive punishment.

Prosecution proceedings may not be instituted if 2 years have elapsed since the commission of the offence. No punishment shall be imposed in the case of an unsuccessful attempt.

Any person who, with the consent of the mother, kills her unborn child or renders her his assistance in effecting an abortion, shall be imprisoned for up to 4 years. In the case of a grave offence, and particularly if the act is carried out for the purpose of gain, or results in the death of the mother or serious damage to her health, the sentence shall be up to 8 years' imprisonment. If the act is carried out without the consent of the mother, the punishment shall be imprisonment of not less than 2 years and up to 12 years.

Article 217

[Any person who is guilty of committing a physical attack which is not of the proportions covered by Article 218, shall be punished by a fine or by [up to 6 months' imprisonment]27), and up to 1 year's imprisonment if his conduct is particularly reprehensible.

Offences under paragraph 1 shall be handled as criminal cases, but proceedings shall not be instituted unless this is demanded by the public interest.]28)

Article 218

[If, by means of an intentionally committed physical attack, a person causes another person bodily injury or damage to his health, and he can regarded as being responsible for these consequences of the attack through intent or negligence, he shall be […]29) imprisoned for up to 3 years, or fined if there are particular mitigating circumstances.

If serious bodily injury or damage to health results from an attack, or if the offence is particularly dangerous because of the method (including the instruments) used, and also if the victim of the physical attack dies as a result of the attack, the offence shall be punishable by up to 16 years' imprisonment.]30)

Article 218a.

If a person who is found guilty of an offence under Article 217 or 218 has previously been punished under those articles, or has been punished for offences which are connected in any other manner with intentionally committed acts of violence, then the punishment may be increased by up to one half.

Acquiescence in a physical attack shall result in the possibility of a reduction of the punishment which would otherwise be imposed. If the act constitutes a violation of Article 217, no punishment shall be imposed if it is established that acquiescence was given.

If bodily injury occurs in the course of a scuffle or fight between the perpetrator and the victim, then punishment may be reduced or even waived if the act is covered by Article 217. The same shall apply if the person who sustains the injury initiated the fight by an attack, taunts or other similar conduct.]31)

Article 219

If bodily injury or damage to health or the type covered by Article 218 results from the recklessness of another person, this shall be punishable by a fine […]32) or up to 4 years' imprisonment.

Article 220

Any person who reduces a person to a condition in which he is without the means of survival, or deserts a person whom he is supposed to be looking after, in such a condition, shall be imprisoned for up to 8 years.

If a mother deserts her child without the means of survival after giving birth to it, and there is reason to believe that she has done so for reasons of the same type as those mentioned in Article 212, correspondingly milder punishment may be imposed, and punishment may even be waived if the child does not sustain any appreciable injury.

The punishment allowed for in paragraph 1 shall be imposed on any person who refuses a traveller shelter or gives him wrong directions, providing that he should have foreseen that this would place the traveller in danger.

[Imprisonment]33) of up to 4 years shall be imposed on any person who, for motives of gain, or in high spirits or in another irresponsible manner, places the lives or health of others in evident danger.

Article 221

If any person fails to assist a person who is in mortal danger, even though he could do so without endangering his own life or health, or those of others, he shall be […]34) imprisoned for up to 2 years, or fined if there are mitigating circumstances.

The same punishment shall be imposed on any person who does not take steps to apply the means available for the resuscitation of those who may still be alive though they appear to be dead, or who does not apply the methods prescribed for the care of those who have suffered a shipwreck or other similar disaster.

Article 222

Any person who, intentionally or through negligence, gives dangerous items or substances to a child under the age of 15, of a mentally ill, mentally retarded or intoxicated person, shall be fined or [imprisoned]35) for up to 3 months.

Article 223

Any person who neglects to provide a pregnant woman for whom he is responsible with the necessary obstetric assistance with the result that the life or health of the child or the mother is placed at risk, shall be punished by a fine or [up to 1 year's imprisonment]36)

Article 224 …37)



1) Act No. 40/1992, Article 1.

2) Act No. 40/1992, Article 2.

3) Act No. 40/1992, Article 3.

4) Act No. 40/1992, Article 4.

5) Act No. 40/1992, Article 5.

6) Act No. 40/1992, Article 6.

7) Act No. 40/1992, Article 7.

8) Act No. 40/1992, Article 8.

9) Act No. 40/1992, Article 9.

10) Act No. 40/1992, Article 10

11) Act No. 40/1992, Article 16

12) Act No. 82/1998, Article 102

13) Act No. 40/1992, Article 11

14) Act No. 40/1992, Article 12

15) Act No. 82/1998, Article 103

16) Act No. 40/1992, Article 13

17) Act No. 40/1992, Article 16

18) Act No. 40/1992, Article 14

19) Act No. 82/1998, Article 104

20) Act No. 40/1992, Article 15

21) Act No. 82/1998, Article 105

22) Act No. 126/1996, Article 1

23) Act No. 82/1998, Article 106

24) Act No. 82/1998, Article 107

25) Act No. 82/1998, Article 108

26) Act No. 82/1998, Article 109

27) Act No. 82/1998, Article 110

28) Act No. 20/1981, Article 10

29) Act No. 82/1998, Article 111

30) Act No. 20/1981, Article 11

31) Act No. 20/1981, Article 12

32) Act No. 82/1988, Article 112

33) Act No. 82/1998, Article 113

34) Act No. 82/1998, Article 114

35) Act No. 82/1998, Article 115

36) Act No. 82/1998, Article 116

37) Act No. 101/1976, Article 1

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