World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search

 


India: UN human rights experts welcome Supreme Court ruling

GENEVA (30 January 2014) – Two United Nations independent experts welcomed a recent decision by the Supreme Court of India to commute to life imprisonment the death sentences of 15 individuals, and to introduce guidelines safeguarding the rights of people on death row.

“This judgment by the Supreme Court reaffirms the value of human rights and respect for human life, as enshrined in the Indian Constitution,” said UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions Christof Heyns.

“If the death penalty is to be used at all, international law clearly requires that it must follow a trial that meets the highest standards of fairness and due process guarantees,” he added.

On 21 January 2014, the Indian Supreme Court commuted the death sentences of 13 individuals after finding that there had been an unexplained and unreasonable delay by the authorities in deciding on their petitions for mercy.

Two other individuals had their death sentences commuted to life on the ground of mental illness. “I am pleased to see that the Supreme Court referred to international standards and confirmed that persons suffering from mental illness could not be executed,” said Mr. Heyns.

The Supreme Court also ruled that all death row prisoners should have regular mental health checks and appropriate medical care be given to those in need.

Other general guidelines by the Supreme Court on the treatment of persons on death row include: solitary confinement during the period awaiting a decision on the mercy petition is unconstitutional; persons sentenced to death are entitled to legal aid, including for filing mercy petitions; a notice of at least 14 days must be given prior to execution; a final meeting between the prisoner and their family and friends should be facilitated.

The UN Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Juan E Méndez, also welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision. But he stressed that Indian courts must continue to ensure that capital punishment does not violate the absolute prohibition on torture or ill-treatment.

“The fact of being on death row itself and the methods of execution employed may render capital punishment tantamount to torture,” Mr. Méndez highlighted.

Under all circumstances the absolute prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and the strict adherence to safeguards against them constitute fundamental limits on the use and enforcement of the death penalty, he said.

Mr. Heyns and Mr. Méndez, who had previously raised the case of several of the individuals concerned with the Indian Government, said the Supreme Court’s decision was a “significant step” but they urged India to go further and “establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty”.

The statement by the two experts was also endorsed by the Chair-Rapporteur of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Mads Andenas.

ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Palestine: Border Police Extremely Close When They Shot The US Activist

New testimony at final hearing in Tristan Anderson's trial indicates Border Police were extremely close when they shot the US activist in the head More>>

Palestine: Ni’lin Demonstrators Met With Violence

International Solidarity Movement On the 20th of March, during Ni’lin’s weekly Friday demonstration, Israeli occupation forces attacked protestors with about 20 rounds of tear gas canisters shot with the ‘venom’ tear gas launcher mounted on a military jeep ... More>>

ALSO:

UN Envoy Says Yemen On 'Rapid Downward Spiral'

Yemen stands on the brink of civil war amid deepening political tensions and an uptick in sectarian violence, United Nations Special Adviser Jamal Benomar warned today as he explained that only through dialogue could the country achieve a peaceful political transition. More>>


Continued International Support As Vanuatu Recovers

Damage seen on Saturday 14 March 2015 in Port Vila, capital of Vanuatu, after Cyclone Pam moved through the Archipelago. Photo: UNICEF Pacific More>>

UNICEF Rushes Emergency Supplies For Cyclone-Affected Tuvalu

The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is dispatching emergency life-saving supplies to communities in Tuvalu as part of its efforts to assist communities in the Pacific region that were affected by Tropical Cyclone Pam, with nutrition and hygiene kits arriving today. More>>

Vanuatu: Regenvanu Expects 50% Of People Struck By Pam To Be Homeless

Vanuatu Minister of Lands Ralph Regenvanu says more than 50 percent of those hit by super Cyclone Pam at the weekend are now homeless. More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
World
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news