Malaysian Government, Washington State Supreme Court decide against Capital Punishment - Seeker's Thoughts

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Saturday, 13 October 2018

Malaysian Government, Washington State Supreme Court decide against Capital Punishment

Although international law says that the use of the death penalty must be restricted to the most serious crimes, meaning intentional killing, Amnesty believes that the death penalty is never the answer. 



The use of the death penalty for crimes committed by people younger than 18 is prohibited under international human rights law, yet some countries still sentence to death and execute juvenile defendants. 

Such executions are few compared to the total number of executions recorded by Amnesty International each year.
The Malaysian Cabinet has decided to abolish the death penalty for all crimes and halt all pending executions. The government has taken the decision to scrap capital punishment following strong domestic opposition to the practice.
At the same moment Supreme Court of Washington state has deemed Capital Punishment unconstitutional. 


 Why is it being abolished?
Activists contended that the death penalty is barbarous, unimaginably cruel and pointless, as it has never been proven to deter serious crimes. They say, once the sentence is scrapped, Malaysia will have the moral authority to fight for the lives of Malaysians facing death sentences abroad.
 Capital punishment is currently mandatory in Malaysia for a wide range of crimes including murder, drug trafficking, treason, kidnapping, possession of firearms and acts of terror. The sentence is carried out in the nation by hanging, a legacy which has lived on since the British colonial rule.
Can capital punishment reduce crime rates?
Statistics have not been able to prove or disprove the efficacy of capital punishment as a deterrent. While the U.K. has seen an increase in murders since 1965 when capital punishment for murder was removed from the statute book, Canada has not seen any such impact since it abolished the death penalty in 1976. The underlying socio-economic conditions in a society that cause crimes seem to have as much of an impact on the increase or decrease of crimes as the law does.

Need of the hour
It is not the severity of the punishment but the certainty and uniformity of it which will reduce crime. Even for capital punishment to work as a deterrent, the fairness of the investigation, the certainty of conviction, and the speed of the trial are vital. With the police and judicial independence being under a cloud, especially after the incidents in Kathua and Unnao, the deterrent value of capital punishment seems diminished unless police reforms and fast-track courts are a part of the package.
Global Scenario
China remains the world’s top executioner – but the true extent of the use of the death penalty in China is unknown as this data is classified as a state secret; the global figure of at least 993 recorded in 2017 excludes the thousands of executions believed to have been carried out in China.
Excluding China, 84% of all reported executions took place in just four countries – Iran, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Pakistan.