Tag Archives: TheHindustanTimes

Muslim states refuse to compromise

By Katherine Voukidis for the Hindustan Times

Saudi Arabia and Yemen continue to resist global concerns on the humanity of the death sentence in the Third General Assembly, saying, “we can only go as far as Sharia law lets us”.

“We would most certainly not impose this on other states, unless they are Muslims being led by Muslims,” says Yemen.

This reluctance highlights a key concern of the committee – the ability of international law to reflect international attitudes, while recognising the cultural and religious concerns of member states.

“It is mandated by God – it isn’t a matter for individuals to decide on what the penalty may be,” says Yemen.

Does the international community have the authority to impose global concerns on the humanity of capital punishment on sovereign nations who abide by religious customs and traditions?

As noted by the delegate for Saudi Arabia, “your religion comes first.”

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China puts 50 activists on death row

By Katherine Voukidis, for the Hindustan Times

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Chinese government media release of the activists in action

China concealed the prosecution of 50 pro-Tibetan activists, while simultaneously calling for the increased transparency of states in the Third General Assembly.

The Chinese government stated the activists were “terrorists” who are a “threat to public security for spreading lies”. The activists have been offered the right to appeal the decision.

Yesterday, the Third General Assembly heard “China may re-access the issue of transparency in regards to the death penalty” with reference to the trial and reporting of the accused.

China justifies its actions as procedurally fair, and due to it being a “fairly young and developing nation”.

Members of the international community are “displeased with China’s lack of transparency” (delegate for Germany).This event highlights the need of the Third General Assembly to address the humanity of state sentencing processes, as opposed to its current focus on procedural fairness.

Iran executes foreign citizens

By Katherine Voukidis for the Hindustan Times

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Main building of judicial system of Iran, in Tehran.

Six Cuban, four Argentine and two United States citizens have been publicly executed in the Islamic Republic of Iran, amid reports they are “Moharebs, enemies of God”.

The delegation was invited to Iran on the 26th of November to discuss trade relations, specifically those regarding the supply of food such as grains and wheat, in a time where Iran is experiencing “inflation of around 400%” (delegate for Iran).

President Barack Obama said, “It is completely unacceptable for member states to utilise the death penalty in furtherance of political objectives”.

Iran’s Revolutionary Court found the delegation guilty of “waging war against God”. It is believed by Iran that the delegation was spying on Iranian military operations. These allegations are not yet confirmed.

Concern lies with the inability of international law to effectively prevent such crises from occurring. The potential for this issue to negatively influence diplomatic relations is evident.The Third General Assembly of the United Nations is attempting to develop a resolution that accurately reflects international concerns and attitudes. The Committee looks to balance the rights of sovereign nations to legislate within their jurisdiction, with the morals and values of the international community on the value of human life.

China shoots itself in the foot

By Katherine Voukidis for the Hindustan Times

Late yesterday afternoon, China continued to reiterate its support of the death penalty, acknowledging it was the most extreme punishment to which it would subject its citizens.

However, the Delegate for China later agreed that he would rather die by lethal injection, as a form of capital punishment, then be subject to life imprisonment.

If the delegate for China would rather die than lose his freedom, why should it be believed that the death penalty is the most effective, final sentence to which a criminal should be punished?

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UN tackles the Death Penalty

By Katherine Voukidis for The Hindustan Times

Over 1900 people were killed in 2012 by their nation state. Globally, over 80 nations continue to sentence offenders to death.

Amnesty International reports that support for the abolition of capital punishment is increasing. However cultural, social and economic barriers, as specific to nation states, continue to limit the capacity for international law to eliminate the use of the death penalty.

Socially, capital punishment places a significant emotional strain on the individual offender, their close friends and family, and those involved in the execution process. The suspended nature of many convictions adds to this turmoil. In the United States, it takes and average of 1,902 days to progress from charging, to sentencing a person.

Those in favour fail to prove how the death penalty acts as the ultimate deterrent for horrific crimes. Instead, numerous cases arise where individual are wrongfully accused of, and sentenced to death row.

Despite this, cultural norms and social concerns lead many to support the use of capital punishment. This tends to occur in states where crimes are considered to significantly impair the operation of society. However it could be argued this is a form of retribution, or revenge, as opposed to achieving justice.

Economically, in states such as the US, it has been recognised that the lengthy process of sentencing someone to death places a significant economic strain on taxpayer funds. In 2012 US Judge Arthur Alarcon and Professor Paula Mitchell found that discontinuing the death penalty in California would result in immediate savings of US$170 million per year, or over US$5 billion within 20 years.

The effectiveness of capital punishment continues to divide the international community, with struggles to apply global attitudes to domestic concerns. Despite its continued use worldwide, it is gradually being agreed that the death penalty is an excessively inhumane punishment, which lacks social, cultural or economic benefit.