Saturday, June 21, 2008

Drug crimes not subject to death penalty

The above photograph was taken recently at the entrance to a toilet in a Bangkok petrol station. It warns that drugs entail the death penalty and originates from legislation on the control of drugs.

We submit the following comments:
As contained in the UN Economic and Social Council resolution of 1984/50 of 25 May 1984
  • "the deprivation of life by the authorities of the State is a matter of the utmost gravity" par 51.
  • "To determine whether a particular offence falls among the most serious crimes,..., requires interpretation and application of the relevant international law rather than of the subjective approach opted for within a given State's criminal code and sentencing scheme" par 44.
  • "With respect to particular offenses, the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee have determined that a wide range of specific offences fall outside the scope of the "most serious crimes" for which the death penalty may be imposed. These include: ...., drug related offences, ..." par 51
  • "the Committee and the Commission have rejected nearly every imaginable category of offence other than murder as falling outside the ambit of the most setious crimes" par 52
  • "the death penalty can only be imposed in cases where it can be shown that there was an intention to kill which resulted in the loss of life" Summary 3
These rulings were recalled to the 29 member Thai delegation submitting a report on its obligations under the INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS during the 84th Session of Human Rights Committee, in Geneva in July 2005

In the United Nations General Assemly of December 2007 a majority vote recommended a Moratorium on the Death Penalty in all member countries. Thailand voted with the minority against the Moratorium.

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