[Deathpenalty]death penalty news-----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Fri Jun 3 17:40:29 CDT 2005
Barbados may take first death penalty case to the CCJ----The inauguration
of the CCJ
The Barbados government may take its 1st death penalty case to the
recently inaugurated Caribbean Court of Justice.
Its possible that the government could approach that court to restore the
death sentences of Jeffrey Joseph and Lennox Boyce, which were commuted to
life imprisonment by the countrys Court of Appeal earlier this week.
They had been previously sentenced to hang for the 1999 brutal murder of
22-year-old Marquelle Hippolyte, and death warrants were read to them on 2
Attorney General, Mia Mottley says while she has not had a chance to study
the courts ruling comprehensively, it appears to be a judgment that can be
"Over the course of the next week or 2, we will review our position and
make a determination as to the question of the appeal," she said.
Ms. Mottley says the order of the court has been stayed for 21 days and
government therefore has sufficient time within which to make the
"If the government does appeal we would have to apply for that stay to be
extended because the case would not have received its final determination
by Barbados final court of appeal (CCJ) as yet," she said.
The Attorney General indicated that government was aware that whichever
side was successful in the Barbados Court of Appeal, it was likely that
the CCJ would have been called upon to ultimately settle the matter.
With Barbados having signed on to the appellate jurisdiction of the CCJ,
if the Boyce and Joseph case is heard there, that decision will be final.
It was on Tuesday that the Barbados Court of Appeal considered whether the
murderers constitutional rights were breached when death warrants were
read to them before they had completed their full round of appeals.
The judges also noted that the five-year period before death sentences can
be commuted is less than eight months away and the 2-year delay before the
appeals of Boyce and Joseph went to the Judicial Committee of the Privy
Council pushes the time for the completion of those appeals over the
limit. Therefore, it said, a report from the Inter-American Human Rights
Committee could not be compiled and reviewed by the Privy Council within
the specified time.
The court ruled that the delay was not the fault of the appellants and in
view of the time frame and the circumstances of the case, the proper order
would be to commute the sentences.
(source: Caribbean Net News)
Healing the Wounds of Crime
A long overdue move to help the families of crime victims meet with
offenders has been launched by a group of lawyers and experts in a bid to
pave the way for a process of healing and reconciliation that they say is
almost non-existent in Japan.
"Reconciliation is never easy and our activities face a long and hard
road. But it is important to have a mechanism that supports the meeting
between perpetrators and families that experience the horror of crime if
the world is to become a better place," said lawyer Noriaki Miki, a member
of the newly established Centre for Victim Offender Mediation (VOM) based
in Osaka, 520 kms west of Tokyo.
The push for a centre that seeks a direct dialogue between offenders and
victims comes against a growing backdrop of vicious crimes in Japan.
Experts point out that several brutal murders and sexual offences
committed against minors -- such as the May arrest of a 24-year-old man
who kept an 18-year-old girl chained in his apartment as a sex slave for
more than 3 months -- have created a climate of fear and anger among the
The government has reacted by passing new laws to imprison juvenile
offenders at an earlier age, control the movements of released sex
offenders, while prosecutors have proposed revising the penal code to
impose longer prison sentences -- from the current 15 years to 20 years if
the perpetrator is found guilty of a serious crime.
Proposals for stricter laws have also gained support from the public: more
than 82 % of Japanese favour the death penalty according to a poll
released by the government in February, the first time that sentiment has
climbed over 80 %.
The survey showed that support was based on the fear that abolishing
capital punishment would lead to more heinous crimes.
But analysts say such public sentiment is a dangerous sign for the future,
and could be tempered by a system of reconciliation. "The need for a
system that allows both sides of the crime to meet is a significant step
in the process of building remorse in offenders and forgiveness on the
part of the families. This system is of utmost importance to stop crime,"
said Ikuzo Maeno, a lawyer and member of VOM, a non-governmental
VOM made a tentative start in that direction in May by calling on victims
of crime to seek the group's help in meeting with offenders.
The next step in the process would be a series of interviews between VOM
and the perpetrator of the crime to make sure the offender shows signs of
remorse. That would be followed by several meetings between victim(s) and
offender, with VOM carefully monitoring process towards final
"We know it is an uphill struggle till the meeting can be successful in
the sense of ultimately capturing reconciliation and a fresh start. So we
have begun with addressing victims of light crimes, such as street brawls
or company in-fighting, as the 1st step," said Miki.
Akiko Takada, spokesperson for the group Forum Against the Death Penalty,
says the latest move by lawyers is crucial to combat rising tension in
"Our research has shown it takes years to foster change in people but they
do come around in many cases," she explained.
Forum says the latest such case was a letter finally sent in April by the
father of a girl who was raped and killed by a 19-year-old man in 1986.
The offender, now serving life imprisonment, had for years sent letters to
the parents expressing remorse for his crime and asking their forgiveness
but had made no headway.
Activists also blame the government of blocking the path to reconciliation
by withholding detailed information from the families of victims of crime,
resulting in hardened emotions that can lead to higher crime rates in a
On the other hand, prisoners in death row and their families are also kept
in the dark till the day they die, blocking any opportunity to build
Hirokazu Hasegawa, a professor of clinical psychology at Tokai Women's
College, spent time with Mamoru Takuma, who was hanged in 2004 for the
massacre of 8 elementary school children in 2001. Hasegawa says at the end
of the trial the families of the victims remained sad and angry, despite
the offender receiving the death penalty.
On May 24, Mamoru Hase, the father of six-year-old Jun, who was beheaded
by a 12 year-old boy in 1997, wrote a letter to the 'Asahi' newspaper
saying he has not forgiven the offender, despite him writing several
letters apologising for the act.
As well, a book, 'Where is the Support for Crime Victims?' written by
parents of a 7-year-old girl killed in the massacre, details the lack of
official support for families of victims, and expresses their stance of
not forgiving the perpetrator despite the murderer's remorse.
These examples reveal the challenge facing proponents of reconciliation.
"Our movement is a small step in the difficult process of putting together
the offender and the victim in Japan, which has hitherto not debated the
process publicly, but we must keep trying," said Miki.
Tripura rape case: Accused gets death sentence
A man who raped and murdered a 7-year-old girl and then hid her body in a
box 3 years back was today sentenced to death by a court in West district
Additional District Judge of West Tripura, Subhash Bhattacharya, had
convicted Samir Bhaumick on May 27 for the rape and murder of a
seven-year-old girl, Puja Dutta, in his photography studio at Charilam in
the district on December 11, 2002 and concealing her body in a box.
Pronouncing the sentence today the Judge said the case fell squarely
within the ambit of rarest of the rare, which deserved capital punishment.
Terming Bhaumick a cold-blooded criminal, the Judge said, he not only
raped the girl but strangled her to death to stop her from crying.
Tobi wants death penalty for corrupt public officers
ABUJA CONFERENCE Chairman, Justice Niki Tobi, called yesterday for the
introduction of the death penalty for corrupt public officers as the only
way of stemming the tide in the country.
He spoke as the National Political Conference continued the debate on the
reports of the 19 committees that looked into various aspects of the
Justice Tobi, a serving Justice of the Supreme Court, said since other
methods had failed to check the menace which had kept the country
underdeveloped, capital punishment should be adopted. "If a wound cannot
be cured by spirit, then you try iodine," he said.
Earlier, Dr Ekeng Anamdu, a delegate from Akwa Ibom State, had described
the measures recommended by the Committee on Anti-Corruption as
inadequate. He strongly argued that those who stole the nations money did
not deserve pity and should pay for it with their lives.
In an interview with Vanguard, Dr Anamdu explained that he was moved to
make the unusual suggestion because of the state of public service and
activities of the politicians. He said introduction of the death penalty
now would eventually lead to a revolution.
His words: "There is hunger in the land. Those who say that the death
penalty should be reserved for those found to have killed others do not
know the extent that corrupt officials have wreaked havoc on citizens of
this country. How many people live above the poverty line? How many have
died as a result of the state of public hospitals? It has many
ramifications. Many have died and many are dying as a result of the
activities of corrupt officials. You have seen the extent of violence in
the land today. In broad daylight, people are being killed. Why? Because
the ranks of armed robbers are growing as a result of the activities of
Dr. Anamdu considered the steps taken by the Obasanjo administration to
check the menace as inadequate. Who has been jailed since 1999? That is
why I put it that way that since we started this war in 1999, we have not
seen corpses on the battle field. We should introduce the capital
punishment now so that we can see corpses so that people will refrain from
"Look at what happened on Ikoyi Houses. Where did public officials get
N100 million to pay for the houses? In a democratic country really
fighting corruption, a commission of enquiry would have been set up to try
those people and remove them. We are sick and tired of this. We want a
revolutionary administration. It is a shame when you consider the kind of
report by the American Intelligence Service on sub-saharan Africa. South
Africa is up there, Ghana is up there - Nigeria must join the league by
taking unusual steps to stop corruption."
However, other delegates expressed opposition to the suggestion. Vice
Admiral Akin Aduwo (rtd) described the method as "barbaric, archaic,
unnecessary and unacceptable." However, while accepting that the level of
corruption in the society called for drastic action and stiff penalties,
Admiral Aduwo said a long jail term and possible life imprisonment should
serve as enough deterrent.
According to him: "The whole civilised world is moving away from the
capital punishment. Death penalty is for people who have caused death to
other people. The end of justice is to get the erring citizen reformed.
This is not possible with capital punishment."
He explained that the capital punishment had not succeeded in checking the
menace of armed robbery in the country after 30 years of its introduction.
"What then makes them think that the death penalty would check corrupt
practices?" he asked.
A former Military Administrator of Gongola and Benue States, Commodore
Jonah Jang, said he found the example of Ghana laughable. According to
him, "It is funny that Nigerians want us to copy every country on every
issue. When we are not talking about America, we are referring to Latin
America. Now Ghana. What is attractive about how Rawlings shed blood in
Ghana? That does not appeal to me. We should rather device our own means
of checking the menace." Commodore Jang advocated long jail terms as
adequate punishment "because it allows the corrupt official to see the
other side of office.
Chief Mike Ozekhome, a human rights campaigner and legal practitioner,
expressed opposition to the death penalty generally because there is no
possibility of reforms and no possibility of atoning for the sins
He said: "Many a time those condemned to death had been found innocent of
the charges in countries that have mechanism for finding out but when the
person is gone, he is gone. There are no means of bringing him back."
Chief Ozekhome, however, suggested the introduction of very stiff
penalties. He recommended long jail terms and seizure of property. "If you
introduce capital punishment, I can assure you that what happened during
the era of Rawlings in Ghana would be a childs play. Blood will flow
everywhere. You will just wake up in the morning and see blood in the
That is because almost all those who had ruled us at all levels in Nigeria
had been corrupt and are corrupt. Then we will have massive execution
across Nigeria. They will run into thousands - former military and
civilian rulers, governors, ministers and all those who have served as
commissioners, heads of parastatals and contractors. I dont think that is
what we need now."
(source: The Vanguard)
12 OFWs in death row, says Migrante
A total of 5,168 overseas Filipino workers are in jail, including 12 in
death row, in 56 countries for various offenses that range from contract
violations to murder, the Migrante Sectoral Party said Thursday.
Migrante chairperson Connie Bragas-Regalado claimed that 1,115 of the
total were not assisted by Philippine government officials abroad.
Migrante International secretary general Maita Santiago said most of those
on death row were charged with either illegal drug trafficking or murder.
Bragas-Regalado said Rey Cortez, sentenced recently to death by a court in
Saudi Arabia, did not get any assistance from the Philippine embassy in
"This sordid fact just shows that the current administration does not care
for OFWs in distressful situations whether they get ample and appropriate
legal assistance and fair trial or not," Bragas-Regalado said.
A handful of Migrante members protested outside the Department of Foreign
Affairs building on Thursday to stress the government's alleged
indifference and also to rally against the Migrants Act of 1995, or
Republic Act 8042, for being allegedly useless in preventing abuse on
Migrante called on Malacaang to immediately move to save Cortez and other
jailed OFWs worldwide.
"What President [Gloria Macapagal-] Arroyo must do is to personally attend
to diplomatic intervention with the Pakistani and Saudi Arabian
governments to save Cortez from an unjust death, and with all other
governments where there are Filipinos in jail," Bragas-Regalado said.
(source: INQ7 News)
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