Act/Law wise: Judgment of Supreme Court of Bangladesh


International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)
Section/Order/Article/Rule/Regulation Head Note
Article 6(2)

UN and International Law on Death Sentence–
Public International law does not prohibit death penalty. Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) provides that death penalty may be imposed only for the “most serious crimes”. Countries that retain death penalty are required to observe a number of restrictions and limitations on its use.
The UN safeguards (ECOSOC- safeguards) for cypilet connections require clear and convincing evidence leaving no room for an alterative explanation of the facts and their must be a right to appeal to a higher Court. The rules require that such capital case is carefully scrutinised by domestic Courts for defoliating possibility of error.
The UN Human Rights Committee has interpreted ‘most serious crimes’ not to include economic offences, embezzlement by officials, robbery, abduction not resulting in death, apostasy and drug related crimes. It has also excluded political offences, expressing particular concern about ‘very vague categories of offences relating to internal and external security, vaguely worded offences of opposition to order and national security violations and ‘political offences.
The UN Commission on Human Rights, a subsidiary body of the UN Economic and social Council (ECOSOC) , replaced by the Human Rights Council in 2006, interpreted ‘most serious crimes’ as not including non-violent acts such as financial crimes, religious practice or expression of conscience and sexual relations between consenting adults.
Safeguard 1 of the 1984 UN Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of those Facing the Death Penalty also provides that in countries which have not abolished the death penalty, capital punishment may be imposed only for the most serious crimes, it being understood that their scope should not go beyond intentional crimes with lethal or other extremely grave consequences.
The UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial summary or arbitrary executions stated in his 2012 report to the UN General Assembly that the death penalty should only be applied for offences of intentional killing, based on the practice of retentionist states and the jurisprudence of UN and other bodies.
Although Rome Statute does not allow ICC to pass death sentence, it does nevertheless, recognise death sentence by allowing member states to pass death sentence upon those accused of War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity if such sentence is permissible in the given states.
Its statute does, therefore, allow member states to pass death sentence on those found guilty of crimes against humanity when the national Courts in those states assume jurisdiction.
The argument that the death penalty has a strong deterrent effect on crimes, especially serious violent crimes, plays an important role in the debate in retentionist states. Often, it is the primary reason why the public and politicians shy away from abolition.
The argument assumes that would-be criminals consider the full range of consequences of committing a criminal act, anticipate getting caught, and decide not to undertake the criminal act because they have a strong belief that if caught, they will be sentenced to death.
Governments in retentionist states often invoke the argument that public opinion favours death penalty, and therefore they cannot abolish it.
Although Article 6 of the Civil Covenant is worded in a way which has led the Human Rights Committee to believe that it strongly suggests the desirability of abolition, the second optional protocol to the Civil Covenant – the treaty by which states can solemnly pledge themselves to abolish capital punishment, has not attracted many signatories. (The Second optional Protocol to the ICC PR) The UN Human Rights Committee held that while execution in a gas chamber is cruel, killing by a lethal injection is not. (Paras:983-994); .....Allama Delwar Hossain Sayedee =VS= Government of Bangladesh, (Criminal), 2017 (1)- [2 LM (AD) 76] ....View Full Judgment

Article 6(2)

On Death Sentence– Article 6(2) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights which has by now, assumed the status of Customary International Law, affirms that in states that retain capital punishment, the death penalty may only be imposed for the ‘most serious crimes’. Human rights monitoring mechanisms support the view that this concept is confined to murder. (Page-41, Uimaginable Atrocities, Justice, Politics, and Rights at the War Crimes Tribunal, ProfessorWilliam Schabas OC , MRIA. Oxford University Press) (A. H. M. Shamsuddin Choudhury, J) …Government of Bangladesh =VS= Abdul Quader Molla, (Criminal), 2020 (1) [8 LM (AD) 375] ....View Full Judgment