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Taiwan Constitutional Court's refusal may herald new round of executions

Taiwan Constitutional Court's refusal may herald new round of executions

Taiwan's Constitutional Court decided yesterday to reject a request for an interpretation of the death penalty which was filed by a local alliance aimed at halting plans to execute capital punishment. The move is seen by many as a message that the government is preparing to launch a second wave of executions of death-row prisoners.
Taiwan executed four of the 44 prisoners on death row April 30, five weeks after former Minister of Justice Wang Ching-feng resigned amid a political storm sparked by her statement that she would not sign any death warrants during her term. The executions were the first carried out since 2005 in the island nation.
Following the executions, the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP) filed a petition with the Grand Justices for a constitutional review on behalf of the remaining 40 condemned prisoners regarding the lack of legal representation in their third trials.
TAEDP also accused incumbent Justice Minister Tseng Yung-fu of issuing a cursory order to kill the four death row inmates while the alliance was trying to collect signatures from the prisoners on an authorization letter to file for a constitutional interpretation.
The executions of the death row prisoners are an infraction of the Constitution and the two United Nations covenants concerning human rights ratified by the Ma administration in 2009, as the spirit of the two covenants is clearly against the death penalty, the TAEDP said.
The two covenants refer to International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights that passed Taiwan's legislature on March 31, 2009 and were signed into law by President Ma Ying-jeou the next month.
"None of the accusations the TAEPD made in their interpretation request represent a violation of the Constitution," said Judicial Yuan Secretary-General Hsieh Wen-ting in a press conference yesterday, explaining why the Constitutional Court decided to reject the request.
Capital punishment does not contravene the two U.N. covenants concerning human rights, according to Hsieh.
Asked whether the Constitutional Court's rejection means there will be more executions in the near future, Minister Tseng said they will not set a timetable for carrying out the death penalty.
But if the ministry is going to continue to execute death-row prisoners, the sentences will be carried out in proper order, with those who committed multiple homicides or those who killed their parents or close relatives to be executed first, Tseng said during a seminar with Chiayi County prosecutors yesterday.


Updated : 2021-06-25 15:05 GMT+08:00