Thursday, May 15, 2014

Capital Punishment Redux: Recent Executions and International Norms

In a recent article in The Diplomat, Professor Margaret K. Lewis, of Seton Hall Law School, evaluates whether recent executions in the United States and Taiwan satisfy prevailing international norms.  Specifically, Prof. Lewis looks at the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which encourages abolition, and The Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), whose special rapporteur recently  concluded that "states cannot guarantee that therere is a pain-free method of execution."

While the botched execution of  Clayton Lockett gained headlines in the United States, five executions carried out in Taiwan last week - the first in over a year - raise questions about Taiwan's position vis a vis the death penalty.  When, in 2009, Taiwan incorporated the ICCPR into domestic law, an international group of experts who reviewed implementation recommended a moratorium on executions as a move toward abolition of capital punishment.  Their additional recommendation to adhere to CAT has not been addressed by the Taiwanese government to date. 

To read Prof. Lewis's article, click this link.

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