Document - Bulletin Peine de Mort fevrier 1991 (9104f)

@DEATH PENALTY FEBRUARY 1991 NEWS AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL

1 Easton Street

AI Index: ACT 53/01/91 London WC1X 8DJ

Distribution: SC/DP/PO/CO/GR United Kingdom

A SUMMARY OF EVENTS ON THE DEATH PENALTY AND MOVES TOWARDS WORLDWIDE ABOLITION



1990 A RECORD-BREAKING YEAR FOR ABOLITION


More countries abolished the death penalty in 1990 than ever before. Seven countries abolished the penalty for all crimes, while in an eighth country, Nepal, the death penalty was abolished for ordinary crimes.


NAMIBIA, SÃO TOMÉ and PRÍNCIPE,and MOZAMBIQUE approved new constitutions in 1990 which either abolished the death penalty or made no provision for it.

In HUNGARY the Constitutional Court abolished the death penalty by ruling that its provision under the penal code violated new provisions of the country's constitution (see box below).

ANDORRA adopted its first written penal code making no provision for the death penalty, while the CZECH and SLOVAK FEDERATIVE REPUBLICamended its penal code abolishing the death penalty. In IRELAND the parliament voted to abolish the death penalty for the three crimes for which it was still retained.

At the year end 44 countries had abolished the death penalty for all offences, while 17 had done so for all but exceptional crimes such as wartime crimes. Twenty-five countries were abolitionist de facto: they retain the death penalty in law but have not carried out any executions for the past ten years or more. Ninety-two countries retain and use the death penalty.

Other positive moves in 1990 included the rejection in the UNITED KINGDOM House of Commons on 17 December of a move to reintroduce the death penalty for murder by 367 votes to 182 - a margin of 165, larger than in 1988 when the issue was last voted upon. A counter-motion to abolish the death penalty for treason was defeated by a margin of only 32 votes, opening new prospects for eventual total abolition in the country. In TURKEY the Grand National Assembly (parliament) on 29 November ratified amendments to the penal code which reduce by 16 the offences punishable by death. The mandatory death penalty is retained for 13 offences including murder.


JAPAN: FORUM DISCUSSES ABOLITION


An "Anti-Death Penalty Forum 90" held in Tokyo on 1 December 1990 attracted 1,300 participants making it the largest event ever held in Japan on the death penalty issue. The forum marked the first anniversary of the adoption by the United Nations of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights on the abolition of the death penalty.

The program included a lecture by Dr Shigemitsu

Dando (a former Supreme Court judge); speeches by members of most of the major political parties; musical and theatrical items; and messages from abroad.

AI's Japanese Section, the Conference to Stop the Executions, the Japanese Council on Crime and Delinquency and Lawyers Against the Death Penalty worked together to organize the event which was supported by 109 members of the Diet (legislature).

















Dr Shigemitsu Dando (former Supreme Court judge)



MESSAGES TO THE ANTI-DEATH PENALTY FORUM 90:

ABOLISH THE DEATH PENALTY!


PETER GABRIEL, British pop star:


"THE DEATH PENALTY MUST GO.


Killing solves nothing. It does not work as a deterrent. There has never been any real evidence to suggest that it has.


The death penalty has never existed in any society without wrongful execution of innocent people.


The death penalty is demanded by politicians who buy votes with fear.


The death penalty discriminates against racial minorities and those without power and money. If you are a black man convicted of murdering a white man, you are four times as likely to receive the death penalty as a white man convicted of murdering a black.


The death penalty creates voyeuristic media events that excite the sadistic elements in our nature. It breeds violence.


The death penalty is a lie.


The death penalty has no place in a civilized world.


THE DEATH PENALTY MUST GO."


ADOLFO PEREZ ESQUIVEL,

1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner:


"I heartily support your Forum 90 initiative to urge Japanese abolition of the death penalty. As human beings, we must join together the world over, across differences in language, culture, race or religion to promote and defend human life and dignity wherever and however they are threatened.


The death penalty is such a threat: far from helping to 'safeguard' society by 'removing criminal elements from its midst', it serves to instill in society disregard for the value of all human life, legitimizing a supposed right of some to determine the fate of others.


For this reason the international community has spoken out forcefully against capital punishment, most recently through the United Nations approval one year ago of the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


I welcome this opportunity to join my voice to your urge for Japanese ratification of this protocol.


Day by day, step by step, the forces of life will overcome the forces of death."



EXPANSION OF THE DEATH PENALTY


PAKISTAN: On 10 December 1990, President Ahulam Ishaq Khan issued an ordinance to extend the death penalty to kidnapping for ransom. A life sentence was previously the maximum sentence. Kidnapping is a common crime in parts of Pakistan.


MALDIVES: The parliament passed a law in December 1990 providing for the death penalty as an optional punishment for crimes associated with terrorism. President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom told the legislature that the anti-terrorism laws were necessary following a series of arson attacks on shops and vehicles. The new law covers kidnapping, hostage-taking, hijacking, possession of firearms, arson and threatening the public. It is not yet clear exactly which of these crimes can carry the death penalty. The death penalty had previously been provided for murder and treason, but there have been no executions reported since 1952.



THE DEATH PENALTY IN PRACTICE


SOUTH AFRICA: Alpheus Sekoboane, convicted of murder in February 1987, was executed on 13 November 1990 in Bophuthatswana, one of South Africa's nominally independent "homelands". It was the first execution anywhere in South Africa since November 1989.

According to the South African organization Lawyers for Human Rights, Alpheus Sekoboane had not filed a petition for clemency because he could not afford a lawyer. When the notice of execution was given Lawyers for Human Rights immediately instructed lawyers to proceed with an application for a stay of execution. The court turned down the application on the grounds that President Lucas Mangope had already decided not to grant clemency.

IRAN: Following the launch of a new initiative to combat drug-trafficking at the beginning of September 1990, two groups of prisoners convicted of drug-trafficking were publicly hanged. The groups, comprising 44 and 48 people respectively, were executed within two weeks of each other in the city of Mashhad.

At the end of August 1990 Hojatoleslam Moqtadai, President of the Supreme Court, had announced that a special system was being set up so that courts could deal with drug-trafficking cases more quickly: he said that the aim was to ensure that convicted traffickers would be hanged within 15 days of arrest.

AI recorded over 700 executions of people convicted of criminal offences during 1990.

More than 400 of the executions were ostensibly for drug-related offences.


IRAQ: According to an Arab diplomat, eight of Iraq's top generals were executed in November 1990 for allegedly plotting against President Saddam Hussein. Those executed included Lieutenant General Nizar Khazraji, who was dismissed as chief of staff early in November 1990.



TUNISIA: Nacer Damergi was executed in Tunis on 17 November 1990. He had been convicted of rape and murder. This was the first execution carried out since President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali came to power in November 1987.

NEW LITERATURE


1990 SURVEY OF STATE LEGISLATION, available from the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty, 1325 G St NW LL-B, Washington DC 20005, USA


This survey summarizes bills on the death penalty introduced in state legislatures in the USA during the first half of 1990. It gives details of the progress of the relevant bills state by state. Over 180 bills were filed in 44 states on a variety of issues, including changes in the appeals procedures, compensation for prisoners wrongly convicted of capital crimes, changes in the method of execution, life imprisonment without parole as an alternative to the death penalty, additional mitigating factors to be considered in sentencing, and provisions for legal representation. Only 26 of the bills had been adopted as of mid-1990.

Bills to introduce the death penalty were filed in 12 states - Alaska, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Wisconsin and West Virginia. The only one to be passed by the legislature was in New York; it was later vetoed by the Governor. The veto was not overridden.

Five states adopted laws expanding the scope of the death penalty to include drug-related murders. Two states - Kentucky and Tennessee - passed bills to prohibit the execution of the mentally retarded.


NEWS BRIEFS


CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS: ALBANIA AND LAOS

AI has made submissions to the authorities in Albania and Laos urging that the death penalty be abolished under new constitutions now being drafted.

In Laos a draft constitution published in June 1990 failed to recognize fundamental human rights; AI has made a series of recommendations, including abolition of the death penalty.

In Albania AI sent its recommendations to the members of a constitutional commission established by the People's Assembly in November 1990. However, a draft constitution published at the end of December 1990 did not propose the abolition of the death penalty, although it recognized many fundamental rights, including religious freedom, which had been banned since 1967.


TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO: THREAT OF RESUMPTION OF EXECUTIONS

The commission of inquiry into the death penalty, appointed by the government in 1989 (see Death Penalty News, May 1989), has submitted its report to the President. The commission recommends that the death penalty should be retained for the equivalent of first degree murder, that prisoners sentenced to death over ten years ago should have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment and that prisoners who have exhausted their appeals should be executed immediately.

Ninety-seven prisoners are currently under sentence of death in Trinidad and Tobago. The last execution was in 1979.


TAIWAN: RETRIAL ORDERED FOR MAN SENTENCED TO DEATH

On 16 November 1990, the Supreme Court in Taiwan overturned the conviction of Chiou Ming-wang, who had been sentenced to death for a murder committed in 1983. Citing a lack of substantial evidence, the court ordered a retrial.




INTERNATIONAL TREATIES ON THE DEATH PENALTY

SIGNATURES AND RATIFICATIONS AS OF 31 DECEMBER 1990


INTERNATIONAL TREATY

COUNTRIES SIGNED BUT NOT YET RATIFIED

COUNTRIES RATIFIED

Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights


Belgium, Costa Rica, Denmark, Federal Republic of Germany, Finland, Honduras, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Nicaragua, Norway, Romania, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela

(total: 15)

Australia, New Zealand, Portugal, Sweden (total: 4)

Sixth Protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights

Belgium, Greece, Hungary (total: 3)

Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Federal Republic of Germany, Iceland, Italy, Liechtenstein*, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, San Marino, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

(total: 16)

Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty

Ecuador, Nicaragua, Panama*, Uruguay, Venezuela (total: 5)



* Ratification by Liechtenstein on 15.11.90 and signature by Panama on 26.11.90 (after the November 1990 issue of the Death Penalty News)



DEATH PENALTY NEWS - In 1991 the Death Penalty News will be published on a bimonthly basis. We would be grateful for any readers' comments on its content and format.


DEATH PENALTY NEWS - INDEX FOR 1990


This is an index, by country or organization, of articles which appeared in the Death Penalty News during 1990.


COUNTRY

DATE

SUBJECT

Albania

10/90

Reduction of crimes punishable by death

Argentina

11/90

Proposal for reintroduction of death penalty withdrawn

Barbados

01/90

Minimum age for imposition of the death penalty raised

Bermuda

11/90

Results of referendum on the death penalty

Bulgaria

10/90

Moratorium on executions

Cameroon

01/90

Death penalty introduced for importing toxic waste

Canada

09/90

Canadian facing extradition to USA for murder charge

China

10/90

AI news release: more than 500 executed so far in 1990

Czech & Slovak Republic

09/90

Abolition of the death penalty

Hungary

11/90

Death penalty declared unconstitutional

Indonesia

03/90

Four executed after more than 20 years in custody

Iraq

11/90

Executions in Iraqi-occupied Kuwait

Ireland

01/90

09/90

Preparation of legislation for abolition

Abolition of the death penalty

Japan

11/90

Prisoner acquitted after 15 years on death row

Mozambique

10/90

11/90

Preparation of constitution abolishing death penalty

Abolition of the death penalty

Namibia

03/90

Abolition of death penalty

Nepal

10/90

Abolition of death penalty for ordinary crimes

Philippines

03/90

Possible re-introduction of the death penalty postponed

Poland

01/90

Adoption of law on amnesty

Romania

01/90

Abolition of the death penalty

St Vincent and the

Grenadines

09/90

Legislation passed to allow imposition of the death

penalty on 16 year olds

Sao Tome and Principe

10/90

Abolition of death penalty

Singapore

01/90

Scope of the death penalty extended

South Africa

03/90

Moratorium on executions

South Korea

09/90

Release in amnesty of woman under sentence of death

Sudan

03/90

Executions for breach of currency regulations

Switzerland

11/90

Parliament votes for revision of penal code to eliminate

death penalty

Taiwan

11/90

TV debate on death penalty

Turkey

11/90

Threat of resumption of executions

United Arab Emirates

03/90

Payment of fine saves man from death penalty

United Kingdom

03/90

Gallows ready but no hangman available

USA

03/90

09/90

11/90

Man freed after nearly nine years on death row

Execution of Jesse Tafero

Nearly 2,400 on death row

Book reviews

01/90

03/90

A punishment in search of a crime - I Gray/M Stanley

Death and discrimination: racial disparities in capital

sentencing - S Gross/R Mauro

Organization of American

States

10/90

Protocol to American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty

United Nations

11/90

Recent discussions on the death penalty

World Council of Churches

10/90

Statement opposing the death penalty