[Deathpenalty] death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Sep 25 23:40:08 CDT 2007
Japanese minister wants 'automatic' executions
JAPAN'S outgoing justice minister on Tuesday called for quicker
executions, saying death row inmates should be hanged 'automatically'
within 6 months of losing their last appeal.
Japan is the only major industrial nation other than the United States
that practises the death penalty, despite having one of the world's lowest
Kunio Hatoyama, who resigned on Tuesday with a change of government, said
that Japan needed capital punishment because 'we have been seeing
extremely violent, vicious crimes in recent years'.
Capital punishment 'plays a significant role in deterring serious crimes',
he told his final press conference.
'As you are well aware, there is an extremely small number of people who
say the death penalty should be completely dropped. But more people wish
to keep the death penalty and their numbers are increasing.'
He said he wanted Japan to implement a little-enforced law that requires
the execution of inmates within 6 months of their final sentences.
Currently, the justice minister signs off on every execution.
'I think we might want to consider a system in which it takes place
automatically and objectively without the justice minister's involvement,'
Mr Hatoyama said, saying signing off placed an emotional burden on the
Japan resumed executions last year after prime minister Shinzo Abe took
charge and has since executed 10 people.
Japan had no executions for 15 months until last year as a previous
justice minister, Seiken Sugiura, said the death penalty went against his
Mr Hatoyama has not signed off on any executions since he took office last
month in a reshuffle by Mr Abe.
But incoming Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda is widely expected to remove Mr
Hatoyama from the cabinet as he backed his more conservative rival, Taro
Aso, to be premier.
Hatoyama proposes omitting justice minister's involvement in executions
Outgoing Justice Minister Kunio Hatoyama proposed Tuesday omitting the
current procedure where the justice minister signs an order for executing
a death-row inmate. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure, the justice
minister is required to issue an execution order within 6 months after a
death sentence becomes final.
"The law should be abided by," Hatoyama told a news conference after the
resignation en masse of the cabinet of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "But no
one wants to put his signature on an execution order," he said. "I wonder
if there are any other ways not to delegate the responsibility only to the
justice minister." Hatoyama called for devising an "automatic and
objective" procedure for executions without having to involve the justice
(source: Japan Today)
EU politicians denounce Poland's stand on death penalty
A German Socialist member of the European parliament, Martin Schulz, has
called for the European Union to isolate Poland. Schulz argues that the
Polish government is acting in violation of the principles espoused by the
EU, because Polish President Lech Kaczynski supports capital punishment.
The Polish government recently objected to a day of protest against the
death penalty, organized by the EU; Polish officials said that a campaign
dedicated to the dignity of human life should be expanded to include
opposition to abortion.
The head of EU parliamentarians from the European Green parties, Monica
Frassoni, described Poland's opposition to the proposed European Day
Against the Death Penalty as a "serious problem."
In a separate development involving Polish abortion law, the European
Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg, France has dismissed an appeal by
Poland in the Alicja Tysiac case. The European Court had awarded monetary
damages to the Polish woman, who claimed that her eyesight worsened during
pregnancy because she was unable to find a doctor to abort her unborn
child. The court recognized the mother's right to abortion and ordered the
Polish government to pay her 39,000.
(source: Catholic World News)
MEPs demand death penalty moratorium
Socialist group leader Martin Schulz stated today that he will be fighting
for a unanimous stance against the death penalty.
The German MEP expressed surprise that the European council failed to
reach an agreed common position over a practice he described as
"The death penalty, when it is handed out and carried out, is the low
point of humanity," he said.
"We need to define in criminal law that the intentional killing of
somebody at a given tine in a given place is the worst crime that exists."
Parliament's Green group are also fighting for a moratorium on the death
penalty, but are concerned that the issue will be brushed under the
"We want to stick to what has been agreed," said Monica Frassoni.
"We want a resolution that placed the emphasis on establishing a
moratorium and puts a stop to the coming and going that has lasted 14
Green group co-leader Daniel Cohn-Bendit added that he saw no reason why
there should not be unanimity over this.
"It is incomprehensible," he said.
ALDE leader Graham Watson supported a moratorium but was sceptical about
the European day against the death penalty.
"Somebody should do a list of just how many of these European days there
are", he said.
"If you put them all in your diary, there wouldn't be any room for
engagements", he added.
The proposed European day against the death penalty is being vetoed by the
Warsaw is angry that the debate is restricted to the death penalty only.
Polish deputy justice minister Andrzej Duda recently said that "the death
penalty is only one element of the debate; there are more - for example,
abortion and euthanasia".
Schulz argued however that these issues "don't have anything to do with
rejecting the death penalty."
"To make a link with euthanasia and abortion is unacceptable," he said.
Schulz will be speaking in plenary on the subject on Wednesday.
PRODI, UN RESOLUTION GREAT RESULT
"A UN resolution against the death penalty could show that mankind today
is better than yesterday. It would be a huge result, destined to have an
effect on our notion of progress. A result that would open the doors for a
more just future". PM Romano Prodi writes this in the daily 'Repubblica',
explaining what Italy is doing against the death penalty and underlining
the importance of these days' sessions in New York with the general UN
assembly in which Italy hopes for the approval of a resolution for a
The death sentence "is an extreme act" writes Prodi "that goes against the
most basic principles of civil coexistence that has been kept alive
through the ages thanks to the logic of violence against violence in an
endless chain. Today we have a unique opportunity to free ourselves, to
try and break this chain". Therefore, during the assembly "the European
Union and various countries representing every world region will present a
resolution for the universal moratorium. The objective is to come to its
approval as soon as possible. Italy" Prodi concludes "has always been
committed to this battle and in these months has played a decisive role in
the formation of the widest possible consensus in Europe and the world".
Italy To Push For Global Death Penalty Ban
Italy's premier began his fight Tuesday at the United Nations for a
worldwide moratorium on the death penalty, a move that is expected to face
opposition from the United States and other countries that still allow
capital punishment, including Iran and China.
Premier Romano Prodi hopes to generate enough consensus to pass a General
Assembly resolution calling for a moratorium, and the topic was expected
to feature prominently in his address to the U.N. General Assembly on
"Today Italy begins its battle for a moratorium ... that we intend to win"
Prodi said in comments carried by the ANSA news agency and confirmed by
The premier said the hard work "begins today" but warned of hurdles ahead
because "there are many important countries that still apply (the death
penalty), like the United States and China."
U.N. officials said Monday that Prodi had met with U.N. Secretary-General
Ban Ki-moon and discussed the moratorium, among other topics. A diplomatic
source who is traveling with Prodi said Ban supports the initiative.
A U.N. spokesman, Brenden Varma, said Ban's views on the death penalty
have not changed since January, when he stated his belief that life was
precious and must be protected.
"International law affirms these values. I recognize the growing trend in
international law and in national practice towards a phasing out of the
death penalty," Ban said at the time. "I encourage that trend."
The Italian diplomatic source, who requested anonymity because he is
authorized to talk to the press but not to be quoted by name, said it was
not yet clear when a moratorium on the death penalty might be voted on,
but said it would likely happen in late October or November. Prodi said
Tuesday he hoped for a vote in November at the latest.
The resolution would need two thirds of the votes in the 192-member U.N.
General Assembly to pass.
Italy began a diplomatic push against the death penalty in the wake of the
Dec. 30 execution in Iraq of Saddam Hussein. Past lobbying by Italy for
U.N. action to strike down the death penalty has been unsuccessful.
The European Union is likely to back Italy's call, but countries that
still have executions, including the United States, Iran, Saudi Arabia and
China are expected to oppose it.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to consider the
constitutionality of lethal injections in the case of 2 death row inmates.
The high court will hear a challenge from convicted killer Ralph Baze and
fellow death row inmate Thomas Clyde Bowling Jr. The 2 inmates sued
Kentucky in 2004, claiming lethal injection amounts to cruel and unusual
punishment. Baze's execution was scheduled for Tuesday night, but the
Kentucky Supreme Court halted the proceedings earlier this month.
The United States has executed at least 40 people this year and 1,098
people since the U.S. Supreme Court allowed capital punishment to resume
in 1976, according to the Death Penalty Information Center, a Washington
organization that looks at problems with the capital punishment system.
And Texas, home to President Bush and the country's most active death
penalty state, last month executed its 400th inmate since 1976.
Richard A. Grenell, spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations,
declined to speculate on how the United States would vote on such a
However, he noted that "we strongly feel that the use of the death penalty
in the United States is a decision best left to democratically elected
governments at the federal and state levels."
Italy is a firm opponent of capital punishment. Rome's Colosseum, once the
arena for deadly gladiator combat and executions, has become a symbol of
the country's stance. Since 1999, it has been bathed in golden light every
time a death sentence is commuted somewhere in the world or a country
abolishes capital punishment.
The death penalty center's executive director, Richard Dieter, said a U.N.
resolution calling for a moratorium would be welcome information that
would offer new food for thought, though it would be unlikely to have a
direct effect on executions in the United States, even if it passes.
"This is an important piece of information. It's not a few outspoken
countries against the death penalty, it's a majority of countries," Dieter
said. "It's one small factor that is a part of a calculus used when
Americans say, 'Is it worth it?"'
(source: CBS News)
"Be Done With the Death Penalty: May the United Nations Adopt a Universal
Moratorium Against Executions," by Romano Prodi, former president of the
European Commission, Prime Minister of Italy
I have written an open letter to 55 Nobel Prize winners who had sent me an
appeal calling for approval within the shortest possible time of a
universal moratorium on the death penalty leading to its total abolition.
I have asked them to continue to support this battle of civilization
alongside Italy, and I have invited them to come to New York September 28
to the United Nations headquarters, to show their commitment with us.
During the 62nd session of the United Nations General Assembly which
opened yesterday, the European Union and various countries representing
each region of the globe are to present together a resolution for the
universal moratorium. Italy, committed for all time to this battle, has
worked in a decisive way in recent months for the formation of a
concensus, as wide as possible, in Europe and the world. Justice is today
a global question. I have taken up this theme with international leaders,
the United Nations and with the African Union, making myself the spokesman
of those who are fighting for this cause. The battle against the death
penalty is a battle in which all are associated in Italy; public opinion,
the Parliament, the governments which have succeeded each other through
the years regardless of their political color. In recent months, Italian
politics and diplomacy have intensified their efforts, with the support of
associations - notably Hands Off Cain - which have been fighting this
battle for years. After having convinced the European Union in June to
adopt a common step, we have drawn up the text of a resolution that we are
preparing to submit to and have voted by the United Nations. With
Portugal, which is currently president of the European Union, we have
organized a meeting of the foreign affairs ministers at United Nations
headquarters, next Friday, to seek the support of all potential partisans.
If I invited 55 Nobel Prize winners to New York, it is because their
commitment during these decisive days will be the extraordinary evidence
of a joint effor for the more and more total realization of universal
human rights. We know that we cannot have any illusions. The battle
against the death penalty is a difficult one, since it is still practiced
by numerous countries. We are ready, however, to take risks to try to win
this battle. The conditions exist, we have reasons to hope, starting with
the support of the principal international organizations, the European
Union, world public opinion and a growing number of countries which reject
the use of this cruel and inhuman practice. Encouraging signs keep coming
even in recent days from the most tormented continents - I refer to Asia
and Africa. Even China has begun a long term reflection on the use of the
death penalty, which seems to me to go beyond momentary concerns connected
with the organization of the Olympic Games at Beijing next year.
The death penalty is an extreme act maintained through the centuries by a
logic of violence, contrary to the most elementary principles of civil
coexistence. Today we have a unique opportunity to try to break this
chain. Everything has been written about the meaning of the death penalty.
Italian tradition, beginning with the philosophy of Enlightenment of
Cesare Beccaria, has been a protagonist in the ethical and philosophical
debate on this theme. I will therefore limit myself to recalling that by
approving a resolution at the UN we can point up a very important
principle, namely that the human being is capable of making progress not
only in the area of science, which is obvious, but also in the ethical
area - about which one could have legitimate doubts given what is
happening today in the world.
A United Nations resolution against the death penalty could thus show that
todays man is better than yesterday's, even on the ethical and moral
level. This would be an enormous result which would influence the very
notion of progress. A result which would open the way to a more just
future, in a society which would finally disengage itself from the spiral
of the fratricidal vengeance of Cain and Abel. A society which would show
that it has understood the lesson of ancient wisdom evoked recently by
Zygmunt Bauman: "If you want peace, act for justice."
(source: Liberation (Paris) )
Supreme Court rejects appeal of 3 Bali bombers awaiting firing squad
The Supreme Court rejected appeals by all 3 Islamic militants on death row
for the 2002 Bali bombings that killed 202 people, the state news agency
Supreme Court spokesman Nurhadi said Monday 2 separate panels of judges
had ruled against Ali Ghufron and Imam Samudra -- on August 23 and
September 19 respectively -- because their lawyers provided no new
evidence countering earlier verdicts, Antara state news agency reported.
The court has announced earlier this month that it has also rejected an
appeal by a third Bali bomber convict on death row, Amrozi Nurhasyim, on
Lawyers for the 3 men, awaiting a firing squad for the twin nightclub
attacks, argued that the convictions were illegal because they were based
on an anti-terror law that was applied retroactively.
"Their appeals were rejected," Nurhadi said, "They will face capital
Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has been hit by a
string of terrorist attacks in recent years blamed on the al Qaeda-linked
militant group Jemaah Islamiyah, the first and most deadly being the
October 12, 2002, bombings on the resort island of Bali.
The 3 are among more than 30 people convicted in those blasts. They
confessed to participating in the plot and initially accepted their death
sentences, saying they wanted to die as martyrs.
But in July, they asked their lawyers to appeal, noting that the
Constitutional Court ruled in mid-2004 that tough new laws -- passed after
the Bali bombings -- could not be used in cases predating their adoption.
In the Antara report late Monday, Nurhadi did not explain why the Supreme
Court had allowed retroactive use of the anti-terror law.
It was not immediately clear whether the 3 convicts have any further legal
options to fight their death sentence.
(source: Associated Press)
Cash backs women's group on imposing death penalty to rapists
Consumers Association (Cash) here fully supports call by Sabah women's
group to impose the death penalty on brutal rapists and those who sexually
assault children resulting in their gruesome deaths.
Cash President Datuk Patrick Sindu who joined others in condemning the
gruesome death of 8-year-old Nurin Jazlin, reminded the government of its
responsibility to protect its citizens.
"Seemingly, there is no end in sight to brutal sexual assault on children
in this country. We need drastic action to stop potential perpetrators of
crimes against children," he said.
Patrick said those people involved in such an heinous crimes should be put
to death. They are undeterred by jail sentences and whipping which mean
nothing to them. These people will laugh upon their release from jail.
Patrick said children are vulnerable to sexual abuse and while it is
important to create a safe environment for them with parents stepping up
vigilance and the police beefing up security in public places, society
needs deterrent legislation like death by hanging to keep sex fiends at
(source: Borneo Bulletin)
More information about the DeathPenalty