Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Moving Away from the Death Penalty in South East Asia

Participants in the Bangkok conference.
I'm on my way home from an important meeting in Bangkok organised by the Ministry of Justice of Thailand and the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights entitled 'Moving away from the death penalty in South East Asia'. Most of the States in the region were represented by government officials, academics and other representatives of civil society. We considered such issues as the role of public opinion, the 'most serious crimes' question and the use of the death penalty for drug crimes. There is a sense that the entire region is 'moving away' from capital punishment, with some States being fully abolitionist (Cambodia, Philippines), others de facto abolitionist (Myanmar, Brunei Darussalem, Laos), still others with an unofficial moratorium (Thailand), some manifesting important reductions in numbers of executions and other reforms (Singapore, Malaysia), and some where the direction seems uncertain (Indonesia, Vietnam). Fundamentally, it is a positive picture and one consistent with the worldwide trend. See
Robert Badinter, Sandra Babcock and myself in Paris last week.

Sandra Babcock's blog on the meeting.

Last  week, I was at a fascinating meeting in Paris on capital punishment, held at the École normale supérieure. It was an intersection of philosophy and law, with much discussion of the recent book of lectures by Jacques Derrida on the death penalty, published posthumously.

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