Justification For And The Abolition Of Capital Punishment Under Human Rights Law

Project and Seminar Material for Law

Justification For And The Abolition Of Capital Punishment Under Human Rights Law


Abstract


The legal infliction of death as a penalty for violating criminal law has been in existence from time immemorial, people have been put to death for various forms of wrong doings and methods of execution have included crucifixion, stoning, drowning, burning at stake, impaling and beheading. Today capital punishment is typically accomplished by lethal gas or injection, electrocution, hanging or shooting.

The human right proponents see death penalties as a violation of the right to life and human dignity as such countries that are becoming more democratic are eager to abolish it. The trend in most industrialized nations has been to first stop executing prisoners and then substitute long terms of imprisonment for death as the most severe of criminal penalties, about 90 nation have abolished death penalties and an almost equal number of nations, (most of which are developing countries in which Nigeria is included) have retained it

This thesis considers the argument for and against death penalty in relation to human rights, the argument against this concept goes beyond the Human Right Parlance, as there are other arguments like; the propensity to condemn and execute innocent citizens, the non-deterrent effect of capital punishment, the arbitrary use of the concept against the poor, the discriminately application of the concept on the basis of race, and the lesser argument that proclaims that capital punishment is cruel and inhuman. All these argument have not been reckoned with by anti-abolitionist, as some of them have come up with other modes of executions that they believe are more humane and less cruel, the sole aim of this is to kill the argument of cruel and inhuman treatment

The retributive nature of the human race would rather love that a murderer be necessarily paid back in His own coin, this is believed to be the anti-abolitionist main reason for insisting on the retention of death penalty. If the cost of executing an innocent person and abolishing the concept of death penalty is compared, it would be discovered that, it is more beneficial to abolish the use of death penalty than to lose valuable citizens to wrongful executions. Moreover, countries that have substituted life sentence for death penalty are not worse off than countries that have retained it.


Chapter Five


Conclusion and Recommendation

5.0.0 Conclusion:

The reasons for the controversial nature of the concept of capital punishment is not farfetched, this is because both the arguments for and against the concept are reasonable and seem to be for the benefit of mankind. Law generally is said to be an instrument of social control, it tries to control crimes by setting out punishment for offenders and at the same time gives rights to individuals. The rights granted or created by law include the right to life and human dignity both of which conflict with the concept of capital punishment. It has been discovered that the ability of punishment to deter is not based on the severity of the punishment prescribed but in its certainty, if it is certain that a person who is convicted of an offence will surely be punished, no matter how minute the punishment might be, the certainty of that punishment is more likely to deter other people or even the same person from committing the same crime than severity of punishment with no certainty. This work has discussed capital punishment in detail and discovered that the major arguments in its support are; just punishment, deterrence, and incapacitation, While the arguments against the concept are based on; propensity to condemn innocent defendants, discriminately application on the bases of race as it was in South Africa before death penalty was finally abolished, arbitrary application against the poor, comparing cost to benefit, this argument emphasises that the cost of executing an innocent person is far more weightier when compared to the benefit of capital punishment, as such the abolition of capital punishment is the most ideal thing to do by societies that are still in use of it. It has also been established that capital punishment when viewed in relation to human rights contravenes or violates the right to life and human dignity. This write has actually done justice to the justifications for and abolition of capital punishment under human right law. This research has revealed or identified that the following problems are products of the use of capital punishment: propensity to execute innocent defendants, the non conformity of capital punishment with the rehabilitative aim of criminal punishment, the inability of the concept to deter the commission of the same crime, amongst others.


5.1.0 Recommendations:

Having identified the above problems; I would like to make these recommendations;

Capital punishment should be abolished and replaced with life imprisonment: it has been established that with the use of capital punishment, there is usually a great possibility of executing innocent defendants, but if life imprisonment is substituted for death penalty, innocent people will no longer stand a chance of being executed for offences or crimes they did not commit.

Rehabilitation of offenders: contemporary criminal punishment ought to seek the correction and transformation of criminal behaviours rather than merely penalising wrongdoers. But this concept seems as a mirage as the goal of rehabilitation is increasingly receiving lower priority in correction; today the primary emphasis of punishment is to ensure that offenders receive punishment commensurate with the seriousness of their offence. I am highly recommending that, rehabilitative measures should be put in place for wrongdoers to transform their behaviours and make them useful to themselves and the society, the rehabilitation should comprise of basic education skills and vocational training this will keep the prisoners busy and make it possible for them to earn a decent living after their jail term. An example of a a good rehabiltation program is shown below.

Educational Program in Prison

Inmates at the West Tennessee Detention Facility in Mason, Tennessee, work on computers as part of an educational program. Prison rehabilitative programs attempt to help inmates integrate into society and avoid future criminal activity.

I am also recommending that offenders who have been punished or pardoned should no longer be treated as aliens or discriminated against in the society but should rather be accepted and thought societal ethics.

I am also recommending that this topic should be further researched into and this work be used as an authority.
believe that if the above recommendations are considered and applied, there will be an improvement in our criminal justice system and the society at large.


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