Death Penalty Database

Afghanistan

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Information current as of: December 11, 2012

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Although every Afghan is entitled to legal representation, there remains a severe shortage of lawyers throughout the country. [1] As a result, commencement of trial without legal representation is fairly common, especially for female defendants. [2]

References

[1] The Constitution of Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. Chapter 7, Article 129. http://www.president.gov.af/Contents/68/Documents/218/ChapterSevenTheJudiciary.html. Last Accessed Jun. 3, 2010. 2009 Human Rights Report: Afghanistan, Bureau Of Democracy, Human Rights, And Labor, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136084.htm, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[2] Cherif Bassiouni, Report of The Independent Expert on the Situation of Human Rights in Afghanistan, 12, United Nations, E/CN.4/2005/122, Mar. 11, 2005.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Algeria

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Information current as of: April 10, 2011

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

As of January 2011, we did not find information on the quality of legal representation in capital cases in Algeria. However, different reports indicate that criminal lawyers experience many difficulties properly representing their clients in Algeria.

Amnesty International reported in 2008 that “lawyers providing defense in sensitive cases, such as cases of persons suspected of links with armed groups in Algeria or international terrorism, or providing legal aid in “disappearance” cases, face harassment by the authorities.” [1] The case of human rights lawyer Amine Sidhoum is particularly illustrative. He was sentenced in 2008 to a fine and a 6 month suspended prison term for bringing the Algerian judiciary into disrepute. [2] He was also forbidden from gaining access to one of his clients by decision of the Military Tribunal (under Article 18 of the Code of Military Justice, a lawyer who is chosen by a defendant charged with a military offense, rather than appointed by the Military Tribunal may not represent the defendant without the court’s authorization [3] ). It is reported that the president of the Military Tribunal did not provide grounds for his decision, and did not assign another counsel as was mandated by law. [4]

References

[1] Amnesty Intl., Algeria, Briefing to the Committee Against Torture, p. 23, MDE 28/001/2008, Apr. 16, 2008.
[2] Amnesty Intl., Algerian human rights lawyer convicted for denouncing violations, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/algerian-human-rights-lawyer-convicted-denouncing-violations-20081126, Nov. 26, 2008. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, Addendum, Situation In Specific Countries Territories, p. 17, para. 25, U.N. Doc A/HRC/11/41/Add.1, May 19, 2009.
[3] Algeria Code of Military Justice, art. 18, Order No. 71-28, Apr. 22, 1971, as amended by 2007.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, Addendum, Situation In Specific Countries Territories, p. 16, para. 24, U.N. Doc A/HRC/11/41/Add.1, May 19, 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Antigua and Barbuda

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Information current as of: September 11, 2013

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The law provides that lawyers may not refuse to take a capital case “except for good reason.” [1]

The U.S. State Department 2012 Human Rights Report for Antigua and Barbuda found that authorities allow criminal defendants prompt access to lawyers and family members. The report also noted that “[d]efendants enjoy a presumption of innocence, have timely access to counsel, may confront or question witnesses, and have the right to appeal.” [2] We have no information about the quality of legal representation.

References

[1] Antigua and Barbuda Legal Profession Act, art. 17, Act No. 9 of 1997, Jun. 12, 1997.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Antigua and Barbuda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/wha/204420.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Bahamas

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Information current as of: August 23, 2013

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The effectiveness of legal representation is limited by its lack of availability at the investigative stage. Arthur Dion Hanna Jr., Director of the Legal Aid Clinic at the Eugene Dupuch Law School, has stated: “When a person is first placed under arrest in the Bahamas, they don’t have guaranteed legal representation at that very early critical stage. Even if people are aware of their legal right to representation, then most of them can’t afford it. If a confession is coerced, there is no way to prove it a later stage.” [1]

Recent comments by Court of Appeal President Anita Allen suggests that the availability of legal aid may be limited in practice. In comments concerning the criminal justice system generally, Allen told reporters in February 2013 that a more robust publicly-funded legal system was required, stating: “[t]here are many defendants who are unrepresented and while a presiding judge is to seek to ensure that the trial is fair to both the unrepresented litigant and the state, which is always legally represented, the assistance which a court can properly give to the unrepresented litigant is limited.” [2]

References

[1] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 17, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012.
[2] Khrisna Virgil, Call for Vote on Death Penalty, Tribune 242, www.tribune242.com/news/2013/feb/08/call-vote-death-penalty, Feb. 8, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Bahrain

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Information current as of: January 23, 2011

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

By the end of our research, we found no reports on the quality of legal representation in Bahrain.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Bangladesh

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Information current as of: April 6, 2011

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Currently, the lack of legal representation renders the judicial system “virtually inaccessible to the vast majority of the poor and the disadvantaged,” although defendants are granted access to attorneys when they can obtain them. [1] Attorneys, when they are used, should be able to avail themselves of prosecution evidence; however, in practice, problems with victim intimidation, witness tampering, missing evidence, and extensive corruption and subservience to ruling politicians could be an impediment to development of a legitimate, quality defense and fair trial, [2] and under such conditions it is debatable how easily criminal defense attorneys are able to develop professionally.

References

[1] U.N.D.P., Human Security in Bangladesh: In Search of Justice and Dignity, pp. 34, 42, 47, http://www.undp.org.bd/info/hsr/, Sep. 2002; U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Bangladesh, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment & Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136085.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Bangladesh, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136085.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Barbados

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Information current as of: March 7, 2013

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In Cadogan v. Barbados, decided in 2009, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights held that the public defender was not grossly incompetent in failing to pursue diminished responsibility as a possible defense for his client. [1] While the IACHR’s attention to the matter is some indication that the attention of domestic and treaty-based courts may assure some minimum standard of competence in representation, the public defender’s failure to comprehend the importance of arguing diminished responsibility when his client faced the mandatory death penalty if convicted could be considered a serious deficiency in the quality of representation rendered. One area for attention is whether criminal defense attorneys who have not been accustomed to the possibility of discretion during sentencing for capital crimes will be prepared to protect their clients’ rights under Boyce v. Barbados. [2]

References

[1] Cadogan v. Barbados, paras. 91-93, Ser. C No. 204, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Sep. 24, 2009.
[2] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007 (eliminating the mandatory death penalty).

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Belarus

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Information current as of: September 20, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Legal representation may be nonexistent for defendants who request proceedings in Belarusian instead of in Russian. Legal representation may be ineffective during the appeals process because reviewing courts generally do not hold hearings and instead simply conduct their own review of court documents and protocol. Additionally, detainees indicate that court-appointed attorneys for indigent defendants demand to be paid to be present during interrogations. Attorneys have difficulty gaining pre-trial access to evidence and expertise, and detainees indicate that state-appointed counsel are ineffective. [1] As a matter of practice, investigators interview detainees outside the presence of defense lawyers. Defense attorneys have limited or nonexistent access to prosecutorial evidence and expertise and thus have difficulty preparing and executing a defense. Courts often permit the state to present as evidence the information coerced during illegal interrogations. [2] Investigators have almost complete discretion to determine pre-trial conditions such as detention and the scope of the accused's communications with the outside world. Courts exercise only procedural review over whether an investigator's decisions are proper. The executive exercises significant control over the bar association, and attorneys who have opposed executive policies on human rights grounds have been stripped of their licenses to practice law. [3]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Belarus, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eur/136021.htm, Mar. 11, 2010; U.N. ECOSOC Commn. on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including the Questions of Torture and Detention, paras. 39-57, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/6/Add.3, Nov. 25, 2004; U.N. ECOSOC Commn. on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including Questions of: Independence of the Judiciary, Administration of Justice, Impunity, para. 66, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2001/65/Add.1, Feb. 8, 2001.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Belarus, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eur/136021.htm, Mar. 11, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Belarus Man Loses Death Sentence Appeal, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/belarus-man-loses-death-sentence-appeal-20091029, Oct. 29, 2009; Radio Free Europe, Four Belarusians get Lenient Sentences in "Vigilante" Case, http://www.rferl.org/content/G119Four_Belarusians_Get_Lenient_Sentences_In_Vigilante_Case/1608670.html, Apr. 14, 2009; AP, Gypsy Laborer Faces Execution in Belarus, ICARE, http://www.icare.to/news.php?en/2009-10, Oct. 13, 2009; U.N. ECOSOC Commn. on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including the Questions of Torture and Detention, paras. 39-57, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/6/Add.3, Nov. 25, 2004; U.N. ECOSOC Commn. on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including Questions of: Independence of the Judiciary, Administration of Justice, Impunity, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2001/65/Add.1, Feb. 8, 2001; U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Committee Against Torture, Concluding Observations of the Committee Against Torture: Belarus, para. 45, U.N. Doc. A/56/44, Nov. 20, 2000 (discussing torture, prison conditions and the lack of an independent judiciary and procuracy); U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Implementation of General Assembly Resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006 Entitled "Human Rights Council," Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Belarus, para. 10, A/HRC/4/16, Jan. 15, 2007 (discussing independence of the judiciary).
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Belarus, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eur/136021.htm, Mar. 11, 2010; U.N. ECOSOC Commn. on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including the Questions of Torture and Detention, paras. 39-57, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2005/6/Add.3, Nov. 25, 2004; U.N. ECOSOC Commn. on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including Questions of: Independence of the Judiciary, Administration of Justice, Impunity, para. 66, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2001/65/Add.1, Feb. 8, 2001.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Belize

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Information current as of: January 6, 2014

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Many cases are thrown out or commuted because of trial errors. [1]

References

[1] See, e.g., cases cited in Amnesty Intl., Government Commitments and Human Rights in Belize, p. 12, AMR 16/003/2000, Jun. 2000. Note: The PDF version of the report cites the AI index number incorrectly. The correct index number is AMR 16/003/2000, not AMR 16/01/00.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Botswana

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Information current as of: April 1, 2011

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

According to a joint FIDH-DITSHWANELO report, lawyers appointed to defendants facing a death sentence receive minimal payment, meaning that these cases are often handed down to inexperienced and/or incapable lawyers. [1] In the case of Maauwe v. Attorney General, [2] it was reported that “the pro deo counsel assigned did not represent them adequately or properly and that a letter, which was written by Mr Maauwe and Mr Motswetla to the Registrar of the High Court stating their dissatisfaction with their Counsel and asking that their Counsel be replaced, was not acted upon at all.” [3] According to DITSHWANELO, the Botswana Centre for Human Rights, in Kobedi v. State, Kobedi’s pro deo lawyer was unfamiliar with handling death penalty cases. [4]

References

[1] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Secretive and Hasty Hangings in Botswana: Preliminary conclusions of the joint FIDH & DITSHWANELO report, p. 2, http://www.fidh.org/Secretive-and-hasty-hangings-in-Botswana, Oct. 10, 2006; Intl. Federation for Human Rights & The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, The Death Penalty in Botswana Hasty and Secretive Hangings: International Fact-Finding Mission, p. 15, no. 473/2, Jun. 25, 2007.
[2] This case has not been published on the SAFLII database. However, significant information about the case can be found on DITSHWANELO’s website. DITSHWANELO: Botswana Centre for Human Rights, Maauwe and Motswetla, http://www.DITSHWANELO.org.bw/maauwe.html, last accessed Jun. 1, 2010.
[3] Intl. Federation for Human Rights & The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, The Death Penalty in Botswana Hasty and Secretive Hangings: International Fact-Finding Mission, p. 21, no. 473/2, Jun. 25, 2007.
[4] Intl. Federation for Human Rights & The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, The Death Penalty in Botswana Hasty and Secretive Hangings: International Fact-Finding Mission, p. 21, no. 473/2, Jun. 25, 2007.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Brunei

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Information current as of: April 1, 2011

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Individuals facing charges under the Internal Security Act may receive limited representation. [1]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Brunei, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135986.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Cameroon

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Information current as of: March 27, 2012

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In 2007, a lawyer reported that the state-controlled legal-aid system was “fraught with many delays, such that it [was] not effective in assisting poor citizens to access justice.” [1] Additionally, “[remuneration] is quite low and discouraging for lawyers. Many lawyers do not accept publicly funded legal aid files because of the meagre remuneration. Consequently, most of the lawyers involved in this approach are ‘new wigs’, who at times lack the requisite experience to handle serious offenses like capital murder.” [2]

A 2010 U.N. report, citing non-governmental sources, states that it is difficult for lawyers to be heard during pre-trial investigations. Expedited trials take place in the absence of lawyers when people are arrested during public protests, [3] although these crimes are not death-eligible.

References

[1] Nchunu Justice Sama, Providing Legal Aid in Criminal Justice in Cameroon: the Role of Lawyers, in Penal Reform Intl. & Bluhm Legal Clinic of the Northwestern University School of Law, Access to Justice in Africa and Beyond, Making the Rule of Law a Reality, p. 157, Penal Reform International, 2007.
[2] Nchunu Justice Sama, Providing Legal Aid in Criminal Justice in Cameroon: the Role of Lawyers, in Penal Reform Intl. & Bluhm Legal Clinic of the Northwestern University School of Law, Access to Justice in Africa and Beyond, Making the Rule of Law a Reality, p. 159, Penal Reform International, 2007.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, Addendum, Follow-up to the recommendations made by the Special Rapporteur Visits to Azerbaijan, Brazil, Cameroon, China (People’s Republic of), Denmark, Georgia, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Mongolia, Nepal, Nigeria, Paraguay, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Spain, Sri Lanka, Uzbekistan and Togo, pp. 28-29, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/39/Add.6, Feb. 26, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Central African Republic

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Information current as of: May 28, 2015

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Prior to the Seleka offensive and coup, resource limitations led, at the very least, to delays in assigning representation to indigent defendants and to delayed trial proceedings. [1] We found no further information on the quality of legal representation in the CAR.

Following the start of the Seleka rebellion in December 2012, there has reportedly been a “near collapse” of state authority, including the judiciary, and as of July 2014, the state judicial system was “virtually non-existent.” [2] Judges and court staff have fled their jurisdictions for the capital, court buildings have been looted and documents destroyed, and Seleka members have taken the place of judges and prosecutors in some areas. In 2013, the UNHRC mission in Bangui received reports of attacks on judges and lawyers in retaliation for past verdicts. [3] In this context, it is unlikely the legal aid system is still operational, but some lawyers are reportedly continuing to work and are “sometimes accessible.” [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Reports : Central African Republic, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/af/204102.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[2] FIDH, Central African Republic: “They Must All Leave Or Die”, pp. 72-74, https://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/rapport_rca_2014-uk-04.pdf, Jun. 2014. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Central African Republic, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220095.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Central African Republic, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220095.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Central African Republic, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220095.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Chad

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Information current as of: June 13, 2012

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

There is an extreme dearth of legal professionals. In 2004, the number of Chadian lawyers was estimated to be around 40, all of them appointed only in the capital, D’Jamena. [1] It has also been reported that indigent defendants facing capital prosecution are sometimes represented by unqualified law students. [2] Moreover, it has been reported that some lawyers misunderstand their responsibilities in the appeals process. In 2004, the chief of the Chadian prison administration declared to a human rights investigation mission that “lawyers appointed by Court believe that once the judgment has been passed their work is over. After completing two years in custody, many detainees have no idea that they only have a fortnight in which to appeal against the judgment (…) when parents don’t pursue the case, the accused are simply forgotten.” [3]

References

[1] Intl. Ffederation for Human Rights, Chad, Death Penalty: ending a moratorium, between security opportunism and settling of scores, p. 26, Report No. 404/2, Sep. 2004.
[2] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 40 of the Covenant (continued), Initial report of the Republic of Chad (continued), p. 6, para. 25, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/SR.2636, Dec. 21, 2009.
[3] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Chad, Death Penalty: ending a moratorium, between security opportunism and settling of scores, p. 26, Report No. 404/2, Sep. 2004.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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China

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Information current as of: April 10, 2014

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Suspects may seek counsel upon initial detention and interrogation, but police often limit such access. [1] Courts can reject defendant’s chosen counsel and appoint an attorney. [2] Furthermore, the Chinese government, through the media, physical abuse, malicious prosecution of attorneys and other threats, urges defense attorneys to refuse some capital cases. [3] Suspects may also be denied access to their lawyers in cases that involve terrorism or serious bribery or pose a threat to state security, [4] which may turn out to be capital cases. Reputable news sources have reported that defendants are sometimes denied access to their attorneys and evidence is withheld from defense lawyers. [5] For cases in which the defendants had legal representation but were involved in politically sensitive cases, courts and the government used unlawful detentions, disbarment or harassment against the attorneys. They have also denied attorneys access to evidence and to clients in order to undermine the defense. [6] Some human rights lawyers were barred from representing certain clients or had their licenses withdrawn for defending prodemocracy dissidents, members of banned religious movements, or government critics. [7] A Ministry of Justice official reported that less than 50% of criminal defendants had legal representation in 2011, and that an estimated 12% of criminal suspects were represented by counsel in some provincial-level administrative regions. [8]

The amended Criminal Procedure Law allows a suspect to retain a defense counsel immediately after an initial police interrogation, and requires the investigators to inform the suspects of this right. [9] Furthermore, the police are required to arrange a meeting between a lawyer and his or her client within 48 hours of a request from the lawyer. [10] However, there is no provision requiring the legal aid organizations to respond or stipulating a time frame for compliance. [11] This has sparked criticism from Chinese legal scholars calling for clearer provisions guaranteeing legal aid at all stages of the process in death penalty cases. [12]

Non-court-appointed legal representation is also very expensive. In 2009, the Chinese Criminal Defense Network set lawyers' fees for death sentence trials at about 50,000 yuan ($7,313 USD), which is greater than the per capita annual income. [13] China has only about 122,000 attorneys of any sort (for a population of more than 1 billion people), and these attorneys continue to predominantly service the financial industry. [14] As a result, capital defendants may have difficulty procuring competent, devoted counsel at any price.

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204193.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204193.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135989.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204193.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[5] Lauren Keane, China Delays Buisnessman’s Execution by At Least a Day, The Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/11/26/AR2008112602898.html?nav=rss_world/asia, Nov. 27, 2008.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204193.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[7] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204193.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204193.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions 2012, pp. 19-20, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: China (includes Tibet, Hong Kong, and Macau), Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204193.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions 2012, pp. 19-20, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions 2012, pp. 19-20, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[13] Cristian Segura, China injects ‘humanity’ into death sentence, Asia Times, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/China/KL16Ad01.html, Dec. 16, 2009.
[14] Johnson & Zimring, The Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia, p. 280, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Comoros

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Information current as of: May 28, 2015

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Judicial corruption and inconsistent respect for the defendant’s right to counsel undermine the effectiveness and quality of legal representation in the Comoros. [1]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Comoros, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220099.htm, Feb. 27, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Report 1997: Comoros, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6aa1237.html, Jan. 1, 1997.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Cuba

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Information current as of: August 23, 2010

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Human Rights Watch notes that lawyers may lack access to their clients, particularly those who are political detainees, which can affect their ability to provide an adequate legal defense, and that the use of torture during investigatory and pre-trial detention undermines the legitimacy of confessions and convictions based on them. [1] . Additionally, lawyers may be discouraged from representing political detainees or may not attempt to prepare adequate defenses for political detainees. [2] However, we have not determined that, as a practical matter, political detainees face capital punishment in recent years.

References

[1] Human Rights Watch, New Castro, Same Cuba: Political Prisoners in the Post-Fidel Era, p. 58-59, 1-56432-562-8, Nov. 2009.
[2] Human Rights Watch, New Castro, Same Cuba: Political Prisoners in the Post-Fidel Era, p. 58-59, 1-56432-562-8, Nov. 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Democratic Republic of the Congo

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Information current as of: December 29, 2010

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In its 2005 survey, ECPM asked 44 detainees condemned to death about their lawyer. 24 answered that they did not get help from any lawyer. Some of them did not even know that lawyers existed. In the same survey, ECPM deplored lawyers’ insufficient knowledge of military criminal procedure. Contact between defendants and lawyers may be limited. Legal aid lawyers often refuse to work without being paid or botch their cases. [1] Current U.S. Department of State reports indicate that as of 2009 this situation had not improved. [2]

In a 2008 report, the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers observed serious obstacles to the exercise of the legal profession: “All too often, judges demand money from lawyers, on pain of finding against their clients if they do not pay. Some lawyers therefore give in to corruption, and those who resist it face many difficulties”. [3] Other obstacles are “the threats, intimidation and assault to which lawyers are subjected, not only by some judges, but by the opposing parties. Judges often summon lawyers on some pretext just before their client’s hearings, in order to intimidate them and interfere with their work. This prevents lawyers from attending hearings and defending their clients.” [4]

References

[1] Maela Bégot & Liévin Ngondji, Les « sans-voix » de la République démocratique du Congo – Enquête dans les couloirs de la mort de Kinshasa, Lubumbashi, Buluwo, Kindu et Goma, Rapport de mission, Août à octobre 2005, in Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Abolir… Rapport annuel de l’association ECPM pour l’abolition universelle de la peine de mort, pp. 203, 204, Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, 2007.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denial of a Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135947.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, Addendum, Mission to The Democratic Republic of the Congo, p. 13, para. 47, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/4/Add.2, Apr. 11, 2008.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Leandro Despouy, Addendum, Mission to The Democratic Republic of the Congo, p. 13, para. 48, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/4/Add.2, Apr. 11, 2008.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Dominica

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Information current as of: August 24, 2010

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

None.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Egypt

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Information current as of: April 1, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Some defendants do not receive quality legal representation because their attorneys are assigned to them only immediately prior to trial, and lawyers complain that they lack sufficient access to clients tried in military courts. [1]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Egypt, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136067.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Equatorial Guinea

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Information current as of: April 11, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention observed in 2008 that “lawyers in criminal proceedings do not provide a genuine and effective defense. (…) Furthermore, there is a real lack of lawyers in the country (…). Many lawyers are also public officials or engage in other remunerated activities. (…) The lack of available lawyers to take on court-appointed defense cases tends to delay the start of trials.” Lawyers face “serious difficulties” in defending their clients. They have no access to police stations and no contact with their clients while they are detained there. [1] The Working Group also reported that accused tried by military courts who are not able to meet the costs of their defense must use the services of officially appointed lawyers, “most of whom are army officials and do not provide an effective defense. Judges and defenders in military courts are not lawyers or jurists, but military officials with no legal training.” [2]

Amnesty International reports that “defendants seldom have access to lawyers until a few days before their trial, which seriously limits the ability of their lawyers to prepare an adequate defense.” [3]

Only very few of the detainees interviewed by the Special Rapporteur on torture during his visit in November 2008 had lawyers and “if they did, they generally did not trust them.” [4]

A 2003 report indicates that “members of the judiciary and lawyers receive no training in human rights norms and standards” and that “they have little access to, or knowledge of, legislative texts.” [5]

References

[1] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Addendum, Mission To Equatorial Guinea (8-13 July 2007), p. 16, paras. 73-74, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/7/4/Add.3, Feb. 18, 2008.
[2] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Addendum, Mission To Equatorial Guinea (8-13 July 2007), p. 15, para. 68, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/7/4/Add.3, Feb. 18, 2008.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Equatorial Guinea, Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, Sixth session of the UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council, November-December 2009, p. 7, AFR 24/002/2009, Apr. 13, 2009.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment, Manfred Nowak, Addendum, Mission to the Republic of Equatorial Guinea, p. 16, para. 55, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/39/Add.4, Jan. 7, 2010.
[5] U.N. ECOSOC Commission on Human Rights, Civil And Political Rights, Including The Question Of Freedom Of Expression, Report submitted by Mr. Ambeyi Ligabo, Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, in accordance with Commission on Human Rights resolution 2002/48, Addendum, Mission To Equatorial Guinea, p. 12, para. 43, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2003/67/Add.2, Jan. 9, 2003.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Eritrea

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Information current as of: July 7, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The law does not address or specify the adequate time to prepare one’s defense or the right to access government-held evidence. [1]

There is a significant dearth of lawyers in Eritrea. A 2011 report stated that “[t]he government ha[d] in practice not issued licenses to lawyers seeking to enter private practice for the past four years.” [2]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Eritrea, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220111.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Eritrea, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154345.htm, Apr. 8, 2011.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Ethiopia

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Information current as of: May 14, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The Ethiopian Bar Association is closely monitored by the government and is seen as lacking independence. The executive has ignored, displaced, and imprisoned judges when they have delivered unpopular opinions. [1]

While contract attorneys sometimes provide quality legal aid to criminal defendants, the public defender’s office uses inexperienced attorneys and non-attorneys. [2] Moreover, due to the shortage of attorneys, the quality of legal representation is limited. [3] However, there are many free university-based legal aid clinics that give advice to clients. In some areas, volunteers, including law students and professors, are allowed to represent clients in court. [4]

Defendants are reportedly often unaware of the specific charges against them until the trial. [5] During pretrial detention, authorities allow detainees little or no contact with their defense attorneys. [6] Some detainees, especially those detained under the Anti-Terrorism Law, are held incommunicado. [7] The law provides defendants the right to access government-held evidence, but in practice, the government does not always allow it. [8] All these factors contribute to legal counsel being unprepared and inadequate.

References

[1] The World Bank, Ethiopia: Legal and Judicial Sector Assessment, pp. 22, 28, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTLAWJUSTINST/Resources/EthiopiaSA.pdf, 2004.
[2] The World Bank, Ethiopia: Legal and Judicial Sector Assessment, pp. 30-31, http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTLAWJUSTINST/Resources/EthiopiaSA.pdf, 2004.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220113.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220113.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220113.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220113.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[7] Human Rights Watch, “They Want a Confession”: Torture and Ill-Treatment in Ethiopia’s Maekelawi Police Station, p. 33, http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/ethiopia1013_ForUpload_0.pdf, Oct. 13, 2013.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Ethiopia, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220113.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Gambia

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Information current as of: September 10, 2012

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In 2006, the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy, expressed concerns that individuals facing treason charges would not be adequately represented. They had been denied meetings with attorneys, a majority of defense lawyers had withdrawn from representation, and it was expected that obtaining adequate representation would be difficult due to the high profile, politically sensitive nature of the 2006 treason case. [1] In 2006, Amnesty documented a case where 15 people (including members of the military and civilians) were charged with treason, a capital offense, and were detained in solitary confinement at Mile 2 Prison without being granted access to lawyers. [2]

Even when the court orders that the defendant have unfettered access to counsel, the right to legal representation is not guaranteed. We have found reports of at least one case where the executive did not comply with the court’s order to allow a defendant to communicate to her attorney for seven days because it would have impeded continuing investigations against her. [3]

The availability of legal aid is jeopardized by a shortage of lawyers. There are only around 130 admitted lawyers in Gambia, and all save 40-50 practice in Banjul, the capital. [4]

The International Bar Association reported in 2006 that there was “extreme tension between the government and the private bar, in particular the GBA. This appears to stem from the fact that the government perceives lawyers who litigate against the government on behalf of political opponents or in politically sensitive cases, as being politically-motivated themselves. There is a clear inability to disassociate lawyers from the causes of their clients in this respect.” [5] The IBA also reported incidents of harrassment, threat and attacks on lawyers – some of themm near fatal. As a result, many lawyers are reluctant to accept politically sensitive cases, [6] which include capital treason cases.

References

[1] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy, paras. 148-150, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/4/25/Add.1, Apr. 5, 2007.
[2] Amensty Intl., Gambia: Fear Rules, p. 27, AFR 27/003/2008, Nov. 11, 2008.
[3] Intl. Bar Association Human Rights Institute, Under Pressure: a report on the rule of law in the Gambia, pp. 5-6, http://www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/HRI_Publications/Country_reports.aspx#2005, Aug. 2006.
[4] Gambia Information Site, Gambia Bar Association, http://www.accessgambia.com/extra/gambia-bar-association.html, last accessed Aug. 31, 2012.
[5] Intl. Bar Association Human Rights Institute, Under Pressure: a report on the rule of law in the Gambia, p. 44, http://www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/HRI_Publications/Country_reports.aspx#2005, Aug. 2006.
[6] Intl. Bar Association Human Rights Institute, Under Pressure: a report on the rule of law in the Gambia, pp. 45-46, http://www.ibanet.org/Human_Rights_Institute/HRI_Publications/Country_reports.aspx#2005, Aug. 2006.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Ghana

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Information current as of: October 14, 2012

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We cannot determine the quality of legal aid in Ghana, once it is obtained. Although there are cases of capital murder defendants being acquitted of the charges [1] (including in high-profile cases), [2] in these cases the defense’s main accomplishment seems to have been in requiring the prosecution to offer evidence or witnesses which it did not have.

References

[1] The Accra Mail, Sekondi court acquits four murder suspects, , last accessed Jan 23, 2011.
[2] Ghana News Agency via Ghanaweb, Prosecution closes its case in Ya-Na trial, http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=196837, Nov. 5, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Grenada

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Information current as of: April 2, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We did not find any comments on the quality of legal representation.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Guatemala

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Information current as of: September 24, 2012

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Because Guatemala recently transitioned to an adversarial rather than an inquisitorial criminal court system, the availability of experienced criminal law defense attorneys is limited and highly dependent on aid from the United States. [1] Legal process in Guatemala is marked by high levels of corruption and violence, [2] and lawyers working for the office of the public defender are characterized by inexperience due to over-rotation within the office, inadequate education, unprofessionalism, unpreparedness, and incompetence in representation. [3] Moreover, the criminal defense service suffers from budgetary restrictions and a lack of training of public defenders. The number of cases that each public defender must handle is extremely high and makes it impossible to provide Guatemalans with an adequate public defense. [4]

References

[1] Andres Torres, From Inquisitorial to Accusatory: Columbia and Guatemala’s Legal Transition, p. 9, Boston College Law School: Law and Justice in the Americas Working Paper Series, 2007.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Guatemala, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/wha/186518.htm, May 24, 2012.
[3] Inter-Amer. Commn. on Human Rights, Fifth Report on the Situation of Human Rights in Guatemala, ch. IV: The Administration of Justice, para. 39, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.111, Apr. 6, 2001.
[4] Inter-Amer. Commn. on Human Rights, Justice and Social Inclusion: The Challenges of Democracy in Guatemala, ch. I, The Administration of Justice, F. Public Defenders, para. 80, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.11o, Dec. 29, 2003.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Guyana

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Information current as of: April 1, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In multiple decisions on individual communications filed with the Human Rights Committee, the HRC found violations of Article 14(3) (b), (c), (d) and (e) and Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights because the accused was deprived of his right to counsel when his lawyer was not present at all stages of the criminal proceedings (including preliminary hearings and appeals), thus depriving defendant of a fair trial and amounting to an arbitrary deprivation of life. For example, in the case of Abdool Saleem Yasseen v. the Republic of Guyana, Mr. Yasseen’s lawyer was not present at the first four days of his re-trial. [1] The reason for the lawyer’s absence is unclear.

Many defendants are not granted prompt access to counsel, [2] which may limit the quality of legal representation for defendants.

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Commn. No. 676/1996, para. 2.9, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/62/D/676/1996, Mar. 31, 1998.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Guyana, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136115.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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India

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Information current as of: March 4, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

According to the Legal Services Authorities Act of 1987, indigent detainees have the right to legal aid. [1] The state provides free legal representation to indigent defendants. However, in practice, the quality of legal representation was often poor. [2] The typical defense strategy involves challenging errors in the prosecution’s case, not delivering an independent defense, and attorneys do not receive training in how to handle capital cases. [3] Attorneys may handle 5 cases in court per day. [4] Often, incompetent attorneys who do not face meaningful ethical sanctions for ineffective representation handle capital defenses. [5] In many capital cases, there have been reports of lawyers failing to present evidence of mental illness or disability, evidence that the accused was under the age of 18 at the time of the crime, or other relevant evidence that may act as mitigating factors such as personal, social, psychological information that may affect the court’s decisions in sentencing. This type of information provides the context for a case and the absence of such evidence during the trial can lead to unnecessarily harsh sentences. [6] Appellate attorneys may have difficulty determining where inadequacies in trial defense have led to inappropriate convictions and sentences, [7] and in some cases, such evidence was only discovered by the Supreme Court on appeal. [8]

Indigent defendants do not receive legal aid immediately after arrest or during remand and bail proceedings. As a result, those who are under arrest often do not know their rights, sometimes leading to mistreatment and forced confessions. [9] Moreover, under the anti-terrorism legislation, individuals can be detained by the police for long periods of time without legal counsel, and confessions made to the police during this time can be used as evidence. Moreover, there is no legal assistance in filing mercy petitions or writ petitions to the High Courts or Supreme Court after appeals have been exhausted. [10]

However, according to a recent report, the case against Ajmal Qasab (or Kasab), the man executed in 2012 for his role in the 2008 Mumbai attacks, set a precedent of requiring that all accused persons have the right to legal aid from the time of arrest. Foreign nationals are also given this right. [11]

References

[1] Amnesty Intl., The Death Penalty in India: A lethal lottery: A study of Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases 1950-2006 (Summary Report), p. 11, ASA 20/006/2008, May 2, 2008.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: India, sec. 1 (e), http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136087.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. Navrikan Singh, Lawyers for Human Rights International: India, Interviewed by DPW, India Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010. U.S. Dept of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: India, Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/sca/186463.htm, May 24, 2012.
[3] Navrikan Singh, Lawyers for Human Rights International: India, Interviewed by DPW, India Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[4] Navrikan Singh, Lawyers for Human Rights International: India, Interviewed by DPW, India Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[5] Navrikan Singh, Lawyers for Human Rights International: India, Interviewed by DPW, India Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[6] Amnesty Intl., The Death Penalty in India: A lethal lottery: A study of Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases 1950-2006 (Summary Report), p. 11, ASA 20/006/2008, May 2, 2008.
[7] Navrikan Singh, Lawyers for Human Rights International: India, Interviewed by DPW, India Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[8] Amnesty Intl., The Death Penalty in India: A lethal lottery: A study of Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases 1950-2006 (Summary Report), p. 11, ASA 20/006/2008, May 2, 2008.
[9] Amnesty Intl., The Death Penalty in India: A lethal lottery: A study of Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases 1950-2006 (Summary Report), p. 12, ASA 20/006/2008, May 2, 2008. Navrikan Singh, Lawyers for Human Rights International: India, Interviewed by DPW, India Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[10] Amnesty Intl., The Death Penalty in India: A lethal lottery: A study of Supreme Court judgments in death penalty cases 1950-2006 (Summary Report), p. 12, ASA 20/006/2008, May 2, 2008.
[11] V. Vankatesan, ‘Fair and Impartial,’ Frontline, http://www.hindu.com/fline/fl2922/stories/20121116292203900.htm, Nov. 3, 2012.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Indonesia

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Information current as of: October 1, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The lawyers themselves might be well equipped to handle the trials, but there may be extensive police interference with a lawyer’s ability to effectively represent his client. [1] Amnesty International reported in 2004 that lawyers were not allowed access to their clients to prepare a defense, and were denied access to their clients at various stages after trial, undermining the right to a fair trial. This was exacerbated in some cases due to the lack of adequate interpretation services. [2] More recent reports confirm that lawyers have difficult in accessing the police files of their clients at the pre-trial stage. [3]

There were recent reports from Papua that defendants did not have access to attorneys of their choosing and that authorities denied them adequate time and facilities to prepare a defense. [4]

In 2012, British national Lindsay Sandiford, who faced drug smuggling charges and was later sentenced to death, was appointed three different Indonesian lawyers, none of whom reportedly provided her with effective representation. Her first lawyer, appointed by the Indonesian police, allegedly stole money from her and made no effort to investigate her case or represent her interests in police interrogations. She was also unrepresented during at least her first two court hearings because she was unable to pay for a lawyer herself. [5]

References

[1] Indonesian Working Group on the Advocacy Against Torture (WGAT), Shadow Report, 42, http://www.apt.ch/region/asiapacific/ShadowReportWGAT.pdf, May 2008.
[2] Amnesty Intl., Indonesia: A Briefing on the Death Penalty, p. 7-9, ASA 21/040/2004, October 2004.
[3] Human Rights Working Group – Indonesian NGO Coalition for International Human Rights Advocacy, Alternative Report of Indonesia’s ICCPR State Report 2013, para. 73, http://www.ccprcentre.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/01/Alternative-Report-of-ICCPR_Indonesia_2013.pdf, Dec. 2012.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Indonesia, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204203.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[5] Reprieve, Cases : Lindsay Sandiford, http://www.reprieve.org.uk/cases/Lindsay_Sandiford_Indonesia, last accessed Sep. 26, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Iran

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Information current as of: April 7, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

State-provided legal aid does not cover pre-trial proceedings. Lawyers are are only available at the trial stage, and defendants have no access to legal representation during arrest, charging, investigations or interrogations. [1] Defendants are also not permitted access to prosecution evidence and cannot confront their accusers, [2] diminishing the capacity of counsel to competently defend clients.

Defense lawyers representing clients charged with crimes against the state, Moharebeh or armed robbery face additional obstacles within the legal system and pressure from public opinion. [3] Defendants charged with crimes against the state or Moharebeh cannot meet with their lawyers in private, even at the trial stage. [4] Defense attorneys report that when they are granted access to their clients, it is for a very short period of time and in the presence of security guards. [5] Judges may bar attorneys from access to their clients, particularly when attorneys protest and/or draw public attention to unfair proceedings. [6] Authorities continue to arrest human rights lawyers to prevent them from giving counsel, and reports indicate that the government has charged attorneys with potentially capital offenses (such as espionage and waging war against the regime) for representing certain defendants. [7]

In 2012, 76% of executions were for drug trafficking offenses. [8] Drug trafficking offenses are tried before the Revolutionary Courts, [9] and “the only lawyers allowed to defend the accused are those named by these courts, which of course may include some lawyers who are less likely to challenge the authority of the court.” [10]

Some defendants reportedly do not receive any legal representation. [11]

References

[1] Hossein Raeesi, affiliated with Iran Human Rights, e-mail to DPW, DPW Doc. Iran E-1, Feb. 20, 2014.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Iran, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper, Apr. 19, 2013.
[3] Hossein Raeesi, affiliated with Iran Human Rights, e-mail to DPW, DPW Doc. Iran E-1, Feb. 20, 2014.
[4] Hossein Raeesi, affiliated with Iran Human Rights, e-mail to DPW, DPW Doc. Iran E-1, Feb. 20, 2014.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Iran, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper, Apr. 19, 2013.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Iran, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper, Apr. 19, 2013. Intl. Fed. for Human Rights, Iran—Death Penalty: A State Terror Policy, p. 26, Apr. 28, 2009.
[7] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Iran, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper, Apr. 19, 2013. Intl. Fed. for Human Rights, Iran—Death Penalty: A State Terror Policy, p. 24-26, Apr. 28, 2009. Pepe Escobar, The Roving Eye Iran Jails its Conscience, Asia Times Online, http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/IJ18Ak02.html , Oct. 18, 2007.
[8] Iran Human Rights, Annual Report on the Death Penalty in Iran: 2012, p.6, http://www.iranhr.net/IMG/pdf/Rapport_iran_2012-GB-250313-BD.pdf, Apr. 2013.
[9] Intl. Fed. for Human Rights, Iran—Death Penalty: A State Terror Policy, p. 24-26, Apr. 28, 2009.
[10] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 220-221, Oxford University Press, 4th Ed., 2008.
[11] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Iran, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/#wrapper, Apr. 19, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Iraq

See full questionnaire

Information current as of: November 26, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Access to lawyers is insufficient and the quality of legal representation is poor, significantly undermining the fairness of criminal proceedings. Most defendants meet their lawyer for the first time during their first hearing and have limited access to counsel during pretrial preparation. [1] Defendants also report that they are not able to choose their defense lawyers. [2] In terrorism cases, detainees are frequently held incommunicado, and many defense lawyers have reportedly ceased trying to obtain access to their clients during terrorism-related interrogations, especially when they are held for interrogation at detention facilities controlled by the Ministries of Interior and Defence, because interrogators believe that the right to have legal counsel present during interrogation applies only to interrogations conducted before an investigating judge. [3] Compounding this problem is the routine violation of Article 123 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, which provides that an arrested person must be brought before the investigating judge within 24 hours of arrest. In practice, detainees may be held for weeks before being brought before a judge. [4] It is during this initial pre-judicial phase that most detainees make their first confessions. Many detainees, defendants, and human rights organizations have averred that these confessions are frequently the result of torture or ill-treatment. [5]

Additionally, there are many reports of interference with defense counsel’s work and threats to lawyers who represent death-eligible defendants. In December 2011, the Ninewa Bar Association reported that three lawyers were detained and tortured by the military without judicial approval for attempting to represent individuals charged with terrorism. One of the lawyers was detained for three months. [6] In February 2012, the same Bar Association reported that five lawyers had been detained by the security forces because they had attempted to represent individuals detained by the military. [7]

In several reported cases, defendants facing the death penalty were deprived of legal representation at critical phases of their capital murder proceedings. In one case, the defendant, who was 16 at the time of the crime, reportedly received no legal representation before being sentenced to death. [8] In another reported case, an illerate woman was reportedly tortured into signing a stack of pages which she only learned was a confession one year later, when she first had access to a lawyer. She was sentenced to death for kidnapping and murder, and suffered permanent physical injury from the torture she suffered. [9]

The availability of quality legal representation for sectarian minority individuals accused of terrorism, a capital offense, is particularly limited. [10] Lawyers who agree to represent sectarian or ethnic minority individuals put themselves at risk of threats and intimidation. For instance, when Karzan Karim, a journalist with the Kurdistan Post, was arrested on terrorism charges, his lawyer received threats from security forces after publicizing his extended detention without trial. [11] As a result, some lawyers refuse to represent individuals accused of terrorism, particularly individuals of sectarian minorities. [12]

People tried by the Supreme Iraqi Criminal Tribunal, which was set up to try Saddam Hussein and his collaborators for crimes against humanity and war crimes, face particular challenges in obtaining legal counsel. Several lawyers involved in cases before the SICT have been attacked and killed. [13]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/nea/204362.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[2] Amnesty Intl., A Thousand People Face the Death Penalty in Iraq, p. 4, MDE 14/020/2009, Sep. 1, 2009.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Iraq: A Decade of Abuses, p. 32, MDE 14/001/2013, Mar. 11, 2013.
[4] Amnesty Intl., Iraq: A Decade of Abuses, p. 36, MDE 14/001/2013, Mar. 11, 2013.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Iraq: A Decade of Abuses, pp. 36, 40-45, MDE 14/001/2013, Mar. 11, 2013.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/nea/204362.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Iraq: A Decade of Abuses, p. 33, MDE 14/001/2013, Mar. 11, 2013.
[8] Human Rights Watch, Iraq: Halt Execution of Yemeni Juvenile, http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/12/09/iraq-halt-execution-yemeni-juvenile, Dec. 10, 2012.
[9] Erin Evers, 10 years on, Iraq ignores promised reforms in human rights, Human Rights Watch, www.hrw.org/news/2013/03/19/10-years-iraq-ignores-promised-reforms-human-rights, Apr. 17, 2013.
[10] Amnesty Intl., A Thousand People Face the Death Penalty in Iraq, p. 4, MDE 14/020/2009, Sep. 1, 2009.
[11] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/nea/204362.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[12] Amnesty Intl., A Thousand People Face the Death Penalty in Iraq, p. 4, MDE 14/020/2009, Sep. 1, 2009.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Iraq: A Decade of Abuses, p. 52, MDE 14/001/2013, Mar. 11, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Jamaica

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Information current as of: March 27, 2012

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Legal aid attorneys were available to defend indigent persons. However, the Office of the Public Defender had to contract with private attorneys to represent indigent persons; funds were inadequate to meet the demand, resulting in attorneys sometimes requesting payment from clients. [1]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Jamaica, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136118.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Japan

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Information current as of: November 12, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Defendants’ access to counsel has been described as “insufficient.” [1] Defense counsel is sometimes unable to gain access to possibly exculpatory evidence, including exculpatory DNA evidence. [2] Evidence is sometimes destroyed by the police after initial trials. [3] The inability of defense counsel to gain access to critical evidence has limited the effectiveness of legal representation.

Presence of defense counsel is not mandatory during interrogations. [4] While theoretically there is no limitation on meetings between detained suspects and their lawyers, in practice such meetings will be delayed if they would interrupt the investigation, for example if the suspect is in the middle of an interrogation or present at a crime-scene search. [5]

There is also no guarantee of lawyer-client confidentiality, as prison officials may observe meetings between death row inmates and their lawyers. [6] Additionally, correspondence between death row inmates and the outside, including defense counsel, is censored. [7]

The prosecutor is not required to state whether he is seeking the death penalty until the penultimate day of the trial, after all the evidence has been adduced and before the defense begins its closing statement. This severely limits defense counsel’s ability to properly represent his client. [8]

There are no legal provisions requiring effective assistance of counsel, and a recent report by the Death Penalty Project notes a worrying tendency to finalize death sentences despite inadequate legal representation. For instance, in a 2005 decision, the Third Petit Bench of Japan’s Supreme Court declined to take any corrective measures in a case where a defendant in a murder case retracted his confession in the middle of his trial and claimed complete innocence, but where defense counsel continued to base his defense on his client’s previous admissions of guilt. [9]

More generally, experts note that the quality of defense lawyering is hindered not only by procedural advantages granted to law enforcement, but also because defense training is rudimentary and because the culture of defense lawyering sometimes discourages the aggressive representation of the client’s interests. While there have been improvements since the lay jury was introduced in 2009, there remains much room for improvement. [10]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Conditions for 2011, Japan, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/eap/186276.htm, May 24, 2012.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Conditions for 2011, Japan, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/eap/186276.htm, May 24, 2012.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Conditions for 2011, Japan, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/eap/186276.htm, May 24, 2012.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, Country Reports on Human Rights Conditions for 2011, Japan, Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/eap/186276.htm, May 24, 2012. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 19, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008. Death Penalty Project, The Death Penalty in Japan: A Report on Japan’s legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and an assessment of public attitudes to capital punishment, p. 16, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DPP-Japan-report.pdf, Mar. 2013.
[5] Death Penalty Project, The Death Penalty in Japan: A Report on Japan’s legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and an assessment of public attitudes to capital punishment, pp. 16-17, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DPP-Japan-report.pdf, Mar. 2013.
[6] Center for Prisoners’ Rights Japan, The Alternative Report on the Fifth Periodic Reports of the Japanese Government Under Article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, paras. 26-27, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/Center_Prisoners_Rights_Japan94report.pdf, Sep. 2008; Intl. Federation for Human Rights, The Death Penalty in Japan: The Law of Silence, p. 32, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/FIDHJapan94.pdf, Oct. 2008.
[7] Center for Prisoners’ Rights Japan, The Alternative Report on the Fifth Periodic Reports of the Japanese Government Under Article 40 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, para. 28, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/Center_Prisoners_Rights_Japan94report.pdf, Sep. 2008.
[8] Death Penalty Project, The Death Penalty in Japan: A Report on Japan’s legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and an assessment of public attitudes to capital punishment, pp. 21-22, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DPP-Japan-report.pdf, Mar. 2013.
[9] Death Penalty Project, The Death Penalty in Japan: A Report on Japan’s legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and an assessment of public attitudes to capital punishment, pp. 23-24, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DPP-Japan-report.pdf, Mar. 2013. Note, however, that a more recent decision issued by the Tokyo High Court in April 2011 overruled a criminal conviction in a case where defense counsel’s arguments were based on the premise that defendant was guilty, while defendant himself declared that he was not guilty.
[10] Death Penalty Project, The Death Penalty in Japan: A Report on Japan’s legal obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and an assessment of public attitudes to capital punishment, pp. 25-26, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/DPP-Japan-report.pdf, Mar. 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Jordan

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Information current as of: June 28, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

There are insufficient numbers of attorneys available to indigent defendants. For instance, in Amman, two NGOs, the Justice Center for Legal Aid and Tamkeen, provide legal representation services. Only 9 lawyers work at JCLA in a city of 6.5 million. However, a public defender program may soon be established, with funding from the European Union and the World Bank. [1]

References

[1] Clare Coughlan, Activists want better legal representation for Jordanians, http://northeasternuniversityjournalism2012.wordpress.com/2012/05/24/activists-want-better-legal-representation-for-jordanians/, May 24, 2012; Laila Azzeh, Jordan moving towards abolishing the death penalty, http://jordantimes.com/jordan-moving-towards-abolishing-the-death-penalty, The Jordan Times, Apr. 14, 2011.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Kenya

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Information current as of: June 13, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

One report indicates that a defendant’s right to consult with an attorney in a timely manner is “generally” respected, although some inmates report being denied their right to meet with counsel. [1] However, because discovery laws are not clearly defined, defense lawyers often do not have access to government-held evidence before a trial. The government may invoke the Official Secrets Act to justify withholding evidence. [2]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Kenya, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204343.pdf, Apr. 19, 2013. U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Kenya, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204343.pdf, Apr. 19, 2013.
[2] Kenya Official Secrets Act, sec. 12, Laws of Kenya Rev. Ed. 2010 Ch. 187, Feb. 16, 1968, as updated through to Jul. 12, 2012. U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Kenya, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/204343.pdf, Apr. 19, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Kuwait

See full questionnaire

Information current as of: April 2, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

None.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Laos

See full questionnaire

Information current as of: April 2, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

According to the Canadian Bar Association, which has participated in rule-of-law development programs in Laos, “there was effectively no legal profession in Lao” before the establishment of the Lao Bar Association in 1996. Consequently, there is a low level of practical lawyering skills in the country. Moreover, the concept of a lawyer as advocate is not widely understood by the public or within the justice system, including by judges, the police, and sometimes lawyers themselves. [1] Because of the widespread perception that lawyers cannot affect court decisions, most defendants do not choose to be represented by professionals. [2] There are a limited number of independent lawyers in the country. [3]

The United Nations Development Program for Laos is also involved in drafting laws, codes of conduct and providing legal and professional training for lawyers and interns. [4]

References

[1] The Canadian Bar Association, CBA International Development Program – Southeast Asia, http://www.cba.org/CBA/idp/programs/PrintHTML.aspx?DocId=5025, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[3] Embassy of the United States: Vientiane: Laos, Legal Assistance: Attorneys in Laos, http://laos.usembassy.gov/attorneys.html, revised Dec. 2009, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
[4] United Nations Development Program, Enhancing Access to Justice through Lao Bar Association (Phase II), http://www.undplao.org/whatwedo/factsheets/democratic/2010/2010-06_LBA_Fact%20Sheet%202010_final.pdf, Jun. 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Lebanon

See full questionnaire

Information current as of: April 2, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

According to the Lebanese Center for Human Rights, lawyers provided through the legal aid system lack incentives to help their clients, and often fail to meet with their clients or show up for hearings. [1] The lawyers are usually not paid. [2]

References

[1] Dalila Mahdawi, Prisons crowded to twice their capacity, Daily Star, http://www.dailystar.com.lb/article.asp?edition_ID=1&article_ID=112068&categ_id=1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[2] Daily Star, Abolition of death penalty linked to stability, http://deathpenaltyinformation.blogspot.com/2007/11/lebanon-abolition-of-death-penalty.html, Nov. 21, 2007.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Lesotho

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Information current as of: May 30, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

A review of case law suggests that attorneys or courts are effective at protecting the rights of the accused. [1] Well-known attorneys may be overloaded, and indigent defendants typically must select a relatively less experienced attorney. [2] Detainees are reportedly allowed prompt access to their lawyers, [3] can consult with an attorney of their choice, have adequate time to prepare their case, and may access government-held evidence. [4]

Free legal counsel is provided by either the state or an NGO. NGOs maintain a few legal aid clinics. Although the Legal Aid Division under the Ministry of Justice and Correctional Service also offers free legal assistance, the severe lack of resources undermines its effectiveness. [5]

References

[1] See the search available at the website of the Southern African Legal Information Institute, http://www.saflii.org/cgi-bin/search.pl, last accessed Mar. 26, 2014.
[2] Moses O A Owori, The Death Penalty in Lesotho: The Law and Practice, British Institute of International and Comparative Law, p. 5, http://www.biicl.org/files/2197_country_report_lesotho_owori.pdf, published 2004 or later.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Lesotho, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220126.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Lesotho, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220126.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Lesotho, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220126.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Liberia

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Information current as of: July 8, 2015

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Trial delays occur frequently due to poorly trained attorneys. Moreover, the quality of legal representation is limited by the government’s frequent failure to observe defendants’ constitutional right to be present at trial, consult with a defense lawyer in a timely manner, and access government-held evidence. [1]

A report by the Danish Institute for Human Rights (2007) observed that “a number of NGOs have formed an Association of Legal Aid Providers (ALAP), but it is overwhelmed by the needs.” Penal Reform International, at that time, had decided to implement a “nationwide project in Liberia to provide legal aid services delivered by paralegals.” The PRI initiative was funded by the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, and aimed to provide 40 paralegals to assist accused individuals at pretrial stages, running clinics in prisons and providing “general advice to all court users.” [2] According to the DIHR, in 2007 the justice sector was “in shambles” in rural areas, [3] and the non-availability of legal aid led to serious delays and the denial of due process and fair trials. [4]

References

[1] Human Rights Watch, World Report 2014: Events of 2013, p. 137, Jan. 21, 2014. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Liberia, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220129.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[2] Danish Institute for Human Rights, People’s Access to Rights in Liberia, pp. 53-54, Mar. 2007.
[3] Danish Institute for Human Rights, People’s Access to Rights in Liberia, p. 39, Mar. 2007.
[4] Danish Institute for Human Rights, People’s Access to Rights in Liberia, pp. 39, 56, Mar. 2007.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Libya

See full questionnaire

Information current as of: April 11, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In practice, some lawyers might not be independent; also, they sometimes do not see their clients, who may not know the charges or evidence against them until trial. Effective representation may be seriously undermined in cases before the State Security Court. Human rights defenders may face serious reprisals. [1]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Libya, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136074.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Malawi

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Information current as of: September 7, 2018

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

There are not enough legal aid lawyers to meet the need in Malawi, and the quality of representation is generally poor due to lack of capacity, training, and resources. [1] In 2017, the entire bar in Malawi consisted of 358 lawyers: one lawyer for every 47,500 Malawians. [2] Moreover, many attorneys choose not to work in public interest jobs because private practice is more lucrative. [3] In 2018 there were only 14 Legal Aid lawyers in the country, five of whom qualified within the last two years. [4]

Legal Aid advocates are responsible for representation of all indigent clients in both civil and criminal cases, yielding a caseload of about 2,000 cases per month. [5] Due to high demand and understaffing, advocates have difficulty finding time to visit criminal clients. [6] Accordingly, clients often meet their Legal Aid lawyers on the day of trial. [7]

Representation of indigent clients is severely hampered by lack of funding. In 2016, Malawi’s Legal Aid Bureau was allocated only 130 million Kwacha (approximately U.S. $182,000) against a budget request of 1.2 billion ($1.68 million) needed to achieve its mandate. [8] In April 2016, the Legal Aid Bureau was compelled to put a hold on all its homicide trials because it did not have the resources to provide representation. [9]

Many files go missing or get temporarily misplaced because the filing systems in place are woefully inadequate to efficiently manage the number of cases, which in turn results in extreme delays for defendants on remand. [10] The problem of poor case management pervades the overburdened judiciary and the Department of Public Prosecutions, and then affects the provision of Legal Aid, as files are supposed to be sent to Legal Aid from the Registrar and the Department of Public Prosecutions. [11]

In an attempt to alleviate some of the burden on Legal Aid, the Ministry of Justice has a cooperation agreement with paralegals to provide legal aid services in police stations, prisons, and courts. [12] Other recent laws, such as the Local Courts Act, were intended to assist in removing some of the burden from Malawi’s overstretched courts and public counsel by allowing lower courts to hear cases involving less serious crimes, which would free up the higher courts to focus on more serious offenses. Unfortunately, these measures have been inadequate to compensate for the lack of properly funded and trained defense lawyers. [13]

References

[1] Mandy Podani, Pricey justice for Malawi, The Times Group, https://www.times.mw/pricey-justice-for-malawi/, Jul. 6, 2017.
[2] Mandy Podani, Pricey justice for Malawi, The Times Group, https://www.times.mw/pricey-justice-for-malawi/, Jul. 6, 2017.
[3] The Advocates for Human Rights & World Coalition Against the Death Penalty, Submission to the 22nd Session of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review United Nations Human Rights Council: Malawi, http://www.theadvocatesforhumanrights.org/uploads/malawi_hrc_death_penalty_2014.pdf, p. 5, Apr. 2015–May 2015.
[4] Bwighane Mwenifumbo, affiliated with Legal Aid Bureau, Email to DPW, DPW Malawi Doc. E-2, Jan. 11, 2018.
[5] Mandy Podani, Pricey justice for Malawi, The Times Group, https://www.times.mw/pricey-justice-for-malawi/, Jul. 6, 2017.
[6] Sandra Babcock and Ellen Wight McLaughlin, Reconciling Human Rights and the Application of the Death Penalty in Malawi: The Unfulfilled Promise of Kafantayeni v. Attorney General, p. 193, in Capital Punishments: New Perspectives, Peter Hodgkinson, 2013.
[7] Katie Campbell, affiliated with Reprieve, Email to DPW, DPW Malawi Doc. E-1, Dec. 19, 2017.
[8] Mandy Podani, Pricey justice for Malawi, The Times Group, https://www.times.mw/pricey-justice-for-malawi/, Jul. 6, 2017.
[9] Poor law: The rise of paralegals, The Economist, https://www.economist.com/news/middle-east-and-africa/21709011-rise-paralegals-poor-law, Oct. 20, 2016.
[10] Katie Campbell, affiliated with Reprieve, Email to DPW, DPW Malawi Doc. E-1, Dec. 19, 2017.
[11] Katie Campbell, affiliated with Reprieve, Email to DPW, DPW Malawi Doc. E-1, Dec. 19, 2017.
[12] Julinda Beqiraj and Lawrence McNamara, International Access to Justice: Legal Aid for the Accused and Redress for Victims of Violence: A Report by the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, p. 22, International Bar Association, https://www.biicl.org/documents/749_international_access_to_justice_report_october_2015.pdf?showdocument=1, Oct. 2015.
[13] Mandy Podani, Pricey justice for Malawi, The Times Group, https://www.times.mw/pricey-justice-for-malawi/, Jul. 6, 2017.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Additional Sources and Contacts

Malaysia

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Information current as of: January 3, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

It is unclear that capital defendants are always able to obtain representation. [1] Some reports indicate that Malaysia’s government may intervene to discourage effective representation in certain cases where officials deem that it is necessary to prevent the defendant "from acting in any manner prejudicial to the security of Malaysia or any part thereof or to the maintenance of essential services therein or to the economic life thereof,” as stipulated under Article 8 of the Internal Security Act. [2] Suspects under the Act can be detained initially for as many as 60 days without legal representation. The suspect may also be denied appearance before the courts during that time. [3] Finally, Malaysia inhibits the defendant’s access to evidence held by the police, which likely undermines an attorney’s ability to represent a client effectively. [4]

References

[1] Gary K.Y. Chan, Access to Justice in Malaysia and Singapore, pp. 33, 35-36, 38, Asian Journal of Comparative Law, vol. 2, issue 1, art. 2, 2007.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Malaysia, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135998.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. Internal Security Act of Malaysia, arts. 8(1), 1960, revised 1972.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Malaysia, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135998.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. Internal Security Act of Malaysia, art. 73(3), 1960, revised 1972.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Malaysia, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135998.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Malaysia, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/eap/186286.htm, May 24, 2012.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Maldives

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Information current as of: June 4, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The Maldives may suffer from a lack of criminal defense attorneys. In an older report from 2005, the International Commission of Jurists reported that only 10 attorneys (one quarter of private practitioners) regularly practiced criminal law, and the 110 non-private practitioners were legal officers in the government. The report did not specify whether any of the public officers performed duties as defense attorneys.Moreover, there is reportedly a lack of quality legal education to create new lawyers. [1] The mission of the Bar Association, formed in April 2013, is to improve the country’s standard of legal education and address other problems facing legal practitioners in the Maldives. The Association is not a formal statutory body, [2] nor does it appear that the Bar Association is the body tasked with regulating admission into the profession or supplying and enforcing its codes of conduct and ethics. [3]

In addition, there are concerns regarding the independence of the legal profession. The Attorney General’s Office acts as a regulatory body and issues licenses to practice. [4] In the Office’s latest strategic plan, priority actions include the development of a Legal Profession Bill and Code of Conduct for Lawyers. [5] The 2013 report of the U.N. Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers noted that it is contrary to principles enshrined in the role of lawyers that licenses to practice law and disciplinary measure are in the control of the executive—in this case, the Attorney General’s Office. [6]

References

[1] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, p. 9, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/23/43/Add.3, May 21, 2013.
[2] Mohamed Nahee, Supreme Court challenges Maldives Bar Association for using the word ‘bar’ in its name, Minivan News, http://minivannews.com/politics/supreme-court-challenges-maldives-bar-association-for-using-the-word-bar-in-its-name-61545, July 25, 2013.
[3] Ahmen Naish, Bar Association expresses concern with AG office ceasing issuance of law licenses, Minivan News, http://minivannews.com/politics/bar-association-expresses-concern-with-ag-office-ceasing-issuance-of-law-licences-81254, Mar. 30, 2014.
[4] Daniel Bosley, Attorney General resumes issuing lawyer permits, Minivan News, http://minivannews.com/politics/attorney-general-resumes-issuing-lawyers-permits-82153, Apr. 9, 2014.
[5] Attorney General’s Office Republic of Maldives, Strategic Plan 2014-2018, p. 8, http://agoffice.gov.mv/pdf/downloads/Strategic_Plan_2014-2018.pdf, last accessed May 14, 2014.
[6] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Knaul, p. 9, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/23/43/Add.3, May 21, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Mali

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The very small number of lawyers in the country often prevents access to legal representation. [1] In recent years, reports have indicated that there are less than 275 lawyers in the whole country and almost all of them are settled in the capital. [2] As a consequence, indigent defendants outside the main cities of Bamako and Mopti do not have access to a lawyer to represent them. [3]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Mali, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154357.htm, Apr. 8, 2011.
[2] Avocats Sans Frontières France, Actualités du projet Mali: La situation du Mali, last accessed Feb. 27, 2011, copy available upon request.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2010 Human Rights Report: Mali, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154357.htm, Apr. 8, 2011.

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Mauritania

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Information current as of: April 5, 2011

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The U.N. Working Group on Arbitrary Detention reported that “legal assistance from a court-appointed attorney, when provided, is mostly ineffective, as it is not remunerated.” This is particularly worrying when one knows that most detainees are dependent on legal aid in Mauritania. [1] A lawyer appointed by a court may not refuse his mandate. [2] Trainee lawyers may be appointed as defense counsel, although they are not yet authorized to practice without supervision in any other situation. [3]

The Working Group also mentioned that “while persons accused of a crime do receive assistance from a court-appointed attorney, in practice such assistance is provided only during the hearing before the investigating judge and the reading of the judgment; the presence of counsel is mostly a mere formality.” [4]

In 2005, Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort interviewed one of the lawyers representing the 184 persons accused of organizing a coup and put on trial in January 2005. He reported that the defense lawyers had received daily threats and that one of them had been arrested on the pretext of being in contempt of court and detained for three days, 200km away from the proceedings. [5]

As of January 2009, there were only 264 lawyers in Mauritania. [6]

References

[1] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Addendum, Mission To Mauritania, p. 16, para. 61, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/10/21/Add.2, Nov. 21, 2008.
[2] Law No. 95-24, repealing and replacing Ordinance No. 86- 112 dated Jul. 12, 1986implementing a National Bar Association, art. 47, Jul. 19, 1995.
[3] Law No. 95-24, repealing and replacing Ordinance No. 86- 112 dated Jul. 12, 1986implementing a National Bar Association, art. 21, Jul. 19, 1995.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Promotion And Protection Of All Human Rights, Civil, Political, Economic, Social And Cultural Rights, Including The Right To Development, Report of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Addendum, Mission To Mauritania, p. 16, para. 61, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/10/21/Add.2, Nov. 21, 2008.
[5] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, Les juges sont soumis au pouvoir politique - Entretien avec Maitre Mohameden OuldIchidou, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/article.php?art=143, Jan. 21, 2005.
[6] L’ordre National des Avocats de Mauritanie, http://avocatmauritanie.org/francais/, Jan. 14, 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Morocco

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Information current as of: April 5, 2011

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Legal representation of defendants facing the death penalty is not always adequate. According to the U.S. Department of State, legal aid attorneys are not always appointed, and when they are, they are not always appointed in a timely fashion, and they are poorly paid. These conditions often result in inadequate representation. [1]

During the wave of terrorism trials that followed the 2003 Casablanca attacks, a single lawyer represented 10 defendants for whom the death penalty was sought. All 10 were sentenced to death. [2]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Practices: Morocco, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136075.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[2] Mounia Wissinger, Maroc / Au couloir de Kenitra, Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/article.php?art=241, Jun. 21, 2005.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Myanmar

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Information current as of: February 27, 2011

General

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Reportedly, attorneys of defendants facing common criminal charges (such as for murder) are given an opportunity to prepare a defense and access government evidence; the relevance of quality legal representation in political cases is usually limited to sentencing, as guilt is pre-determined. [1]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Burma, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135987.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Niger

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Information current as of: March 27, 2012

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

As of March 2012, we had not found any information on the quality of legal representation in Niger.

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Nigeria

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Information current as of: June 19, 2014

General

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International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The government sometimes does not respect the defense’s right to review prosecution evidence prior to trial or to mount an adequate defense in the courtroom. [1] Moreover, the government sometimes appoints inexperienced attorneys to represent those facing capital charges [2] and legal aid fees are reportedly set at 10% of the normal rate. [3]

An in-country expert notes that there are few attorneys who specialize in criminal defense work. Due to financial restraints and police intimidation, defense attorneys rarely conduct independent investigations prior to trial. A defense attorney who attempts to investigate may be accused of witness tampering and threatened with arrest. Defense attorneys do not depose prosecution witnesses; they are given a list of witnesses and what those witnesses will say at trial, and the prosecution may withhold information. The defense may be forced to rely on a witness coming forward. Forensics testing is problematic; the police usually have only one forensic pathologist, such experts are usually not used in investigation, and the defense may have to bear the costs of forensic testing (such as autopsies) if an attorney believes that evidence from independent testing is necessary for an adequate defense. Police avoid the use of forensics testing in substantiating charges. [4]

References

[1] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 17, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[2] Amnesty Intl., Nigeria: Waiting for the Hangman, p. 17, AFR 44/020/2008, Oct. 21, 2008. U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Nigeria, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.statEd.gov/documents/organization/220358.pdf, Feb. 25, 2014.
[3] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[4] Adamu A. Ja’afaru, affiliated with Human Rights Law Service, interviewed by Ellen Wight, Nigeria Doc. Interview-1, Feb. 24, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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North Korea

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Information current as of: June 3, 2014

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Defense lawyers reportedly do not serve as advocates of the defendant but more as “independent” parties to help persuade the accused to admit guilt, [1] although they do present evidence to mitigate punishment. [2] However, lawyers are reportedly assigned only to those accused of nonpolitical crimes. [3] There are no reports of independent or nongovernmental defense lawyers. [4]

References

[1] The Library of Congress, A Country Study: North Korea, The Judiciary, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+kp0162), Jun., 1993.
[2] The Library of Congress, A Country Study: North Korea, The Judiciary, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+kp0162), Jun., 1993.
[3] The Library of Congress, A Country Study: North Korea, The Judiciary, http://lcweb2.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/r?frd/cstdy:@field(DOCID+kp0162), Jun., 1993.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204210.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Oman

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Information current as of: February 5, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We did not find comments on the quality of legal representation. The completion of the civil court system is still fairly new; [1] but attorneys have successfully defended unsympathetic defendants against serious charges not involving killing. [2]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2005 Human Rights Report: Oman, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2005/61696.htm, March 8, 2006.
[2] Sunil K. Vaidya, Oman Court Sentences Somalian Pirates to Life Imprisonment, Gulfnews.com, http://gulfnews.com/news/gulf/oman/oman-court-sentences-somalian-pirates-to-life-imprisonment-1.722934, Dec. 4, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Pakistan

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Information current as of: April 4, 2011

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Recent reports have seriously questioned the quality of legal representation, indicating that there are poor controls on attorney quality. [1] An experienced Pakistani defense attorney and member of the Human Rights Commission has commented that lawyers typically do no investigation prior to trial, are not involved during the prosecution’s pre-trial investigation, may be restricted from calling defense witnesses due to the requirement that any defense witness have a statement immediately recorded with investigators (despite the fact that defense attorneys are typically not involved during investigation), and psychological examinations are often not introduced during sentencing. Even experienced attorneys may be unable to render a quality defense due to the practice of bringing in an attorney only after a case goes to court. These conditions impact most severely on indigent defendants, as wealthy defendants are likely to procure an attorney earlier in the investigation and other proceedings. [2] Another expert confirms that the norm is for lawyers not to meet their clients and to keep as far away from police stations as possible. An underpaid court-appointed attorney may seek bribes from a client’s already poor family. [3] The situation may improve for indigent defendants due to new provisions for public defenders and a high bar regarding required experience before courts. [4] However, “there is such a backlog of cases that this change will take a while to come into being.” And, at some reputable firms it is still typical for attorneys to review a defendant’s case file only the night before his appeal is to be heard in the High Court. [5]

References

[1] Intl. Fed. for Human Rights, Slow March to the Gallows: Death Penalty in Pakistan, p. 54-55, http://www.fidh.org/IMG/pdf/Pakistan464angconjointpdm.pdf, Mar. 8, 2007.
[2] Kamran Arif, Interview, DPW Doc. 1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[3] Jane Perlez, Asia Bibi Seeks Pardon in Blasphemy Case, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/world/asia/23pstan.html, Nov. 22, 2010.
[4] Pakistan Public Defender and Legal Aid Office Ordinance, Act No. 5, Feb. 27, 2009.
[5] Jane Perlez, Asia Bibi Seeks Pardon in Blasphemy Case, The New York Times, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/23/world/asia/23pstan.html, Nov. 22, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Palestinian Authority

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Information current as of: April 4, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We found no information on the quality of legal representation.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Papua New Guinea

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Information current as of: January 23, 2011

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We found no comments on the quality of legal representation. In one capital case, defendants were convicted of a seriously aggravated murder—a group of men had allegedly raped a woman and then tortured and murdered her by chopping her to death; this was in premeditated retaliation for an alleged act of her son against a member of their community. All of these factors are aggravating under Papua New Guinea law. Defendant’s counsel on appeal before the Supreme Court was able to obtain a reduced sentence of life imprisonment because the trial judge had failed to make a proper factual finding of rape and because defendant’s counsel showed that, effectively, the trial judge had “shut his mind” to the existence or relevance of mitigating factors. The ability of counsel to focus the court on grave inadequacies in sentencing amidst what the Court characterized as an extremely bad killing [1] seems to speak well of the quality of available representation in Papua New Guinea.

References

[1] Ume v. State, generally, paras. 74, 82, 84, SCRA 10 of 1997, Supreme Court of Justice, May 19, 2006.

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Qatar

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Information current as of: January 1, 2010

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We did not find comments on the quality of legal representation.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Russian Federation

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Information current as of: March 27, 2012

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In its 2007 concluding observations and recommendations pursuant to state party reporting, the U.N. Committee Against Torture expressed concern that torture, a lack of respect for the right to counsel, secret detention and unfair trials were serious problems. Additionally, human rights defenders and journalists who spoke out on these topics suffered severe reprisals, possibly at the hands of state authorities. Reprisals were associated with those accused of serious offenses. [1] Such reprisals undermine effective representation. Leandro Despouy, the Human Rights Council’s Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, observed that a failure to understand the role of defense attorneys in the justice system and interference by the executive has undermined the public’s confidence in the administration of justice. [2]

References

[1] U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee Against Torture, Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties under Article 19 of the Convention, Concluding Observations and Recommendations: Russian Federation, paras. 8, 17, 20-24, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/RUS/CO/4, Feb. 6, 2007.
[2] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy: Russian Federation, paras. 93-97, A/HRC/11/41/Add.2, Mar. 23, 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Saint Kitts and Nevis

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Information current as of: January 23, 2011

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

It is reported that Charles Elroy Laplace, executed on December 19, 2008, did not exhaust all of his appellate remedies. Laplace’s attorney missed the deadline to file an appeal and Laplace subsequently fired him. Laplace was unrepresented at the time of his execution. [1]

References

[1] Amnesty Intl., St Kitts and Nevis: Death Penalty / Legal Concern, AMR 59/001/2009, Feb. 12, 2009; Afua Hirsch, Man hanged in rare St Kitts execution had not exhausted appeal rights, say campaigners, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/dec/23/capital-punishment-human-rights-caribbean, Dec. 23, 2008.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Saint Lucia

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Information current as of: January 23, 2011

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In Saint Lucia, a legal aid committee governed by a variety of experienced attorneys maintains a list of approved legal aid attorneys, each of whom must request to be legal aid attorneys, have at least four years experience and be licensed and in good standing. [1]

References

[1] Legal Aid Act of Saint Lucia, sec. 22, 2007.

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Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

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Information current as of: July 30, 2010

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International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The government provides legal representation only for capital crimes, leaving many defendants without sufficient legal representation. This leads to lengthy pretrial detention. The heavy backlog of cases creates delays that may last five years or more. [1]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136126.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

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Saudi Arabia

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Information current as of: April 4, 2011

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In 2010, the Human Rights Council noted several cases in which the Saudi government incarcerated human rights defenders for their activities. [1] In one case, the courts sanctioned an attorney and punished his client because the court disapproved of publicity surrounding the defendant’s appeal. [2] In 2008, Amnesty International observed that trials are secretive and generally carried out without lawyers. [3] Access to a lawyer may also be undermined by the government’s failure to provide adequate interpretation services for foreign defendants. [4]

References

[1] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque de Silva, Addendum: Communications to and from Governments, para. 954, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/26/Add.1, Jun. 18, 2010.
[2] RasheedAbou-Alsamh, Saudi Rape Case Spurs Calls for Reform, http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/01/world/01saudi.html, Dec. 1, 2007; Laura Setrakian, Exclusive: Saudi Rape Victim Tells Her Story, ABC News, http://abcnews.go.com/International/story?id=3899920&page=1, Nov. 21, 2007.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Affront to Justice: Death Penalty in Saudi Arabia, p. 24, MDE 23/027/2008, Oct. 14, 2008.
[4] For instance, review Rizana’s case. AsiaTribune.com, Father and Mother—Both Should Forgive Sri Lanka Maid Rizana Nafeek—Ambassador Mohammed Marleen, http://www.asiantribune.com/node/13687, Oct. 13, 2010; Carlyle Murphy, Sri Lankan Death Row Maid in a Fight For Her Life, http://www.thenational.ae/news/worldwide/middle-east/saudi-arabia-death-row-maid-in-a-fight-for-her-life, The National, Mar. 16, 2010; Asian Human Rights Commission, Saudi Arabia/Sri Lanka: Rizana Nafeek’s Life is Still in Great Danger, http://www.humanrights.asia/news/ahrc-news/AHRC-STM-033-2011, Feb. 22, 2011.

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Sierra Leone

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Information current as of: July 16, 2014

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Although the law provides indigent defendants with legal representation from the time of arrest and throughout the legal process, [1] in practice due to a shortage of resources only an estimated 5 to 10 percent have access to legal counsel, and access is often delayed even though lawyers are permitted unrestricted access to detainees. [2] Indigent detainees reportedly do not receive legal advice before trial, as state-appointed attorneys are overburdened and underpaid. Defendants also lack adequate facilities to prepare their defenses. Still, they can question witnesses against them, present witnesses and evidence, and access government-held evidence. [3]

Capital defendants experience difficulty accessing the appellate process. AdvocAid reports that capital defendants are not granted extensions to the 21-day time limit within which one must lodge a notice of appeal. However, many fail to meet the deadline due to lack of knowledge of the deadline, lack of access to a competent defense attorney, and instances of missing files. Judges, court staff, lawyers, and prison officers do not always inform defendants of their right to appeal. Those willing to appeal must rely on prison welfare officers or pro bono lawyers. Filing an appeal from the provinces is more difficult as the Court of Appeal office is located only in Freetown. [4]

In 2007, there was a significant shortage of legal professionals, with about 20 judges and 100 lawyers in the country. [5] According to the Sierra Leone Bar Association’s directory of lawyers, there are currently at least 134 lawyers, though we do not know when this page was last updated. [6]

Paralegals have increasingly been providing free legal aid which has helped defendants navigate both the customary and formal legal systems. [7]

References

[1] Sierra Leone Legal Aid Act, art. 20, Act No. 6 of 2012, Aug. 23, 2012.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Sierra Leone, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220156.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Sierra Leone, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220156.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[4] AdvocAid, 21 Days: Enough Time to Save Your Neck?, pp. 1-2, http://www.advocaidsl.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/AdvocAid-Briefing-Paper-21-Days.pdf, Mar. 2011.
[5] Sabrina Mahtani, UN Report Cites Abuse in Sierra Leone Prisons as Threat to Peace: Women Particularly Marginalised by the Country’s Legal System, SIHRG, http://sites.google.com/a/sihrg.org/africa/Home/Siarra-Leone, Sep. 2007.
[6] Sierra Leone Bar Association, Directory of Lawyers, http://www.barassociation.sl/index.php?option=com_qcontacts&view=category&catid=34&Itemid=55, last accessed Apr. 25, 2014.
[7] Human Rights Watch, UPR Submission: Sierra Leone, p. 1, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/sierra_leone/session_11_-_may_2011/hrwhumanrightswatch-eng.pdf, Oct. 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Singapore

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Information current as of: April 4, 2011

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International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Singapore’s attorneys are generally thought to be of reasonably high quality, [1] and top attorneys in Singapore are able to speak out against the mandatory death penalty, [2] although there are reports that a recent book on the death penalty by Alan Shadrake has earned some backlash. In practice, the statutory presumption of guilt and low evidentiary standards for prosecutors for certain capital offenses [3] may undermine the relevance of available, high-quality representation in Singapore.

References

[1] Ministry of Home Affairs, The Singapore Government’s Response to Amnesty International’s Report Singapore: The Death Penalty—A Hidden Toll of Executions, http://www.mha.gov.sg/basic_content.aspx?pageid=74, Jul. 24, 2007; Michael Hor, Singapore’s Innovations to Due Process, pp. 25-40, Criminal Law Forum, Volume 12, no. 1, Springer, 2000. Hor criticizes Singapore’s expansion of the death penalty while discussing the Singaporean common law tradition in the international context.
[2] Jake Lloyd-Smith, Top Singapore Lawyer Slams Death Penalty, Bulletin Wire, http://www.accessmylibrary.com/article-1G1-139023870/top-singapore-lawyer-slams.html, Nov. 22, 2005.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Singapore, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/136008.htm, Mar. 11, 2010; Misuse of Drugs Act of Singapore, secs. 15-33(A), Second Schedule, Cap. 185, 2008 Rev. Ed., amended by S 402/2007, 2007.

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Somalia

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Information current as of: January 1, 2010

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International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We have no comments on the quality of legal representation.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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South Korea

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Information current as of: October 11, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The quality of legal representation is reported to be adequate. Defendants have the right to face their accusers and to consult with an attorney. They can present and question witnesses, access government-held evidence related to their cases, and the right to a fair trial is protected. [1]

However, a submission to the Human Rights Committee by MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society indicates that due to the lack of comprehensive government statistics, it is impossible to evaluate how well the current legal aid system guarantees the poor substantial legal representation. [2] Moreover, although the Constitution and other laws guarantee a suspect’s and defendant’s rights to counsel, MINBYUN reports that this right is not always respected in practice. The right to a defense counsel is undermined by the denial of the detainee’s access to legal counsel by investigative agencies, the obstruction or delay of contact between the defense counsel and the defendant, and the infringement of confidential communication between the detainee and the counsel. [3] Furthermore, defense lawyers are frequently not tolerated during interrogations, which increases the vulnerability of the suspect. [4] The Criminal Procedure Act Amendment Bill, article 243, section 2 legally permits a counselor’s participation in the suspect’s investigation and interrogation, but whether this is true in practice is questionable. [5]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Republic of Korea, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?year=2012&dlid=204212, Apr. 19, 2013.
[2] MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Human Rights in Republic of Korea: The Counter Report to the Third Periodic Report of the Republic of Korea under Article 40 of International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, para. 3, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/MINBYUN-partI.pdf, Oct., 2006.
[3] MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Human Rights in Republic of Korea: The Counter Report to the Third Periodic Report of the Republic of Korea under Article 40 of International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, para. 63, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/MINBYUN-partI.pdf, Oct., 2006.
[4] MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Human Rights in Republic of Korea: The Counter Report to the Third Periodic Report of the Republic of Korea under Article 40 of International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, para. 64, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/MINBYUN-partI.pdf, Oct., 2006.
[5] MINBYUN-Lawyers for a Democratic Society, Human Rights in Republic of Korea: The Counter Report to the Third Periodic Report of the Republic of Korea under Article 40 of International Convention on Civil and Political Rights, para. 66, http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrc/docs/ngos/MINBYUN-partI.pdf, Oct., 2006.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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South Sudan

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Information current as of: April 26, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Observers report that underfunding and lack of adequate legal representation leads to capital convictions in unfair trials in southern Sudan. [1] There is no functioning government legal aid system. [2] Human Rights Watch reports that since 2006, South Sudan’s Ministry of Justice has provided legal aid in a total of 6 cases, meaning that the vast majority of death row inmates were sentenced to death without any form of legal representation. [3] Reports from individuals operating in South Sudan suggest that there are a limited number of private attorneys and that the accreditation process for attorneys is not particularly demanding. [4] A report from December 2012 notes that there are approximately 450 lawyers in the Ministry of Justice and 200 private lawyers in the country. Virtually all of these live in Juba, and there are states with populations in the hundreds of thousands which have no lawyers at all. [5]

The biggest challenge faced by South Sudan is a shortage of qualified lawyers. Prior to its independence, there were fewer than 50 lawyers in the southern part of what was then Sudan, and no legal aid lawyers at all (all 10 legal aid lawyers in the Sudan were in Khartoum). [6] As of December 2011, there were only 650 lawyers in the whole country, 450 of which were employed by the Ministry of Justice. Virtually all lawyers (and judges) live in Juba, so that states with hundreds of thousands of inhabitants have no legal professionals, and some outlying state courts exist on paper only. [7]

Moreover, the majority of lawyers currently practising in South Sudan were trained in the North in Arabic-language Shariah law. Although the Ministry of Justice intends to re-train these employees, most of whom returned South after independence stripped them of Sudanese citizenship, these Shariah-trained lawyers are ill-equipped to practice in the new country’s English-language, common law system. According to one organization, many non English-speaking lawyers have assumed significant positions. Power rests with former SSLA (South Sudan Liberation Army) fighters and the small group of older lawyers who trained in Khartoum in the common law before Shariah law was adopted in 1983. [8]

In August 2012, the UN High Commission for Human Rights strongly criticized South Sudan for executing two men who had not been provided with proper legal assistance. [9]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Sudan, e. Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/af/135978.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[2] David Deng, affiliated with South Sudan Law Society, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-2, Nov. 20, 2011; Elizabeth Ashamu, affiliated with Human Rights Watch, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-3, Nov. 20, 2011.
[3] Human Rights Watch, South Sudan: Place Moratorium on Death Penalty, www.hrw.org/news/2012/11/04/south-sudan-place-moratorium-death-penalty, Nov. 5, 2012.
[4] Akino Kowashi, affiliated with South Sudan Protection Cluster, e-mail to DPW, DPW South Sudan Doc. E-1, Nov. 16, 2011.
[5] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 10-11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[6] UNODC, Access to Legal Aid in Criminal Justice Systems in Africa: Survey Report, pp. 10, 12, http://www.unodc.org/pdf/criminal_justice/Survey_Report_on_Access_to_Legal_Aid_in_Africa.pdf, Apr. 2011.
[7] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 10-11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[8] International Legal Assistance Consortium, Pre-Assistance Mission, South Sudan: 6 to 13 December 2011, pp. 10-11, http://www.ilac.se/download/reports_documents/mission-reports_documents/SOUTH-SUDAN_P-A_REPORT_120229.pdf, Feb. 29, 2012.
[9] Julius N. Uma, South Sudan: UN Criticizes South Sudan Over Execution of Two Prisoners, Sudan Tribune, http://allafrica.com/stories/201209020297.html, Aug. 31, 2012.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Sri Lanka

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Information current as of: April 4, 2011

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In 2003, a journal article published in the Sri Lanka Journal of International Law suggested that “[t]he free legal aid scheme to poor persons in Sri Lanka is gravely circumscribed.” “Assigned counsel are poorly paid, hence only the junior and inexperienced lawyers appear for them, the result being under-representation.” The article cites an unreported Sri Lankan Court of Appeal case in which the Court considered a case of under-representation for a defendant facing murder charges. The Court observed: “In the circumstances, it would appear that accused appellant, was virtually unrepresented and undefended, therefore doubt arises as to whether the accused appellant in fact had a fair trial.” The author observes that this is not an isolated incident, and states that “[t]he reality in Sri Lanka is that it falls far short of the expected objective of the law under international fair trial norms.” [1] We do not know whether the situation has changed since 2003.

There are some organizations that provide legal service but coverage is not equal geographically. For instance Colombo receives most coverage whereas areas like Kilinochchi and Mullaitivu have no service providers operating there. [2]

One news source reported that the government sometimes denies legal representation to minority groups such as Tamils. [3] We have not been able to confirm this allegation.

It also seems that suspects are sometimes kept in custody for long periods as a result of the legal system’s inefficiency. For instance, one suspect was kept in custody for 10 years before being taken to court once. [4] Lengthy delays prior to trial undermine the defendant’s right to a fair trial and the protection against arbitrary detention.

Even though, by law, court proceedings and other legislation should be available in English, Sinhala, and Tamil, in reality, most court proceedings outside of Jaffna or in the northern parts of the country are conducted in English or Sinhala. Consequently, Tamil-speaking defendants do not all receive fair hearings. [5]

References

[1] Noel Dias, Legal Assistance and Aid: International Standards Applicable in Sri Lanka, p. 90-91, Sri Lanka J. of Intl. Law, Vol. 15, p. 77, 2003.
[2] Legal Aid Policy Brief ‘The Legal Aid Sector in Sri Lanka Searching for Sustainable Solutions A Mapping of Legal Aid Services in Sri Lanka Policy Brief’ UNHCR, The Asia Foundation, UNDP Equal Access to Justice Project, Ministry of Constitutional Affairs and National Integration, Ministry of Justice and Law Reform, 2009.
[3] Rajasingham Jayadevan, Arrested Tamils Do Not Have Legal Representation, Sri Lanka Guardian, http://www.srilankaguardian.org/2009/08/arrested-tamils-do-not-have-legal.html, last accessed Mar. 8, 2011.
[4] Sri Lanka Institute of Human Rights, Legal Advice and Representation, http://ihrsrilanka.org/category/legal-advice/, Jun. 15, 2009.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2008 Human Rights Report: Sri Lanka, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/sca/119140.htm, Feb. 25, 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Sudan

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Information current as of: July 24, 2012

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

According to an in-country expert, Sudan interferes with representation during the investigation and at some trials; [1] this is likely to affect the quality of legal representation. Additionally, the government pays far less for an indigent’s attorney than the fee a good attorney would require. [2] Lawyers are prevented from rendering effective representation before antiterrorism courts, as they are not permitted to consult with or advise their clients prior to trial. [3] According to Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, in 2009 at least one attorney was subjected to incommunicado detention without charge, solely for his legitimate activities as a human rights defender in opposition to torture. [4] Additionally, it should be mentioned that, in procedures before the Town and Rural Courts--a parallel system where justice is administered by non-lawyers--there is no legal representation, thus no legal aid system. [5] According to an article by John Wuol Makec, a judge of the Supreme Court of Sudan, the legal aid system is, in practice, not accessible for every accused person in need of assistance. He lists the following set of causes for this problem: the concentration of attorneys and of legal aid authorities in major cities, with prejudice to legal representation in rural areas and small towns, even for persons who would be able to afford it; the shortage of attorneys in the country; the population’s lack of awareness of the existence of a legal aid system; the attitude of legal aid officials, which undermines the proper selection of cases of indigence; the insufficiency of legal aid budgets; and the nonexistence of legal representation in procedures before Town and Rural Courts. [6]

References

[1] Ameir Mohamed Suleiman, African Center for Justice and Peace Studies – Sudan/Uganda/UK/NY, Interview with DPW, DPW Doc. INT-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[2] Ameir Mohamed Suleiman, African Center for Justice and Peace Studies – Sudan/Uganda/UK/NY, Interview with DPW, DPW Doc. INT-1, Feb. 24, 2010.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Sudan, Denial of Fair Public Trial,http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2010/af/154371.htm, Apr. 8, 2011.
[4] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva, para. 1027-1031, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/26/Add.1, Jun. 18, 2010.
[5]

John Wuol Makec, Legal Aid and its Problems in the Sudan, in Access to Justice in Africa and Beyond: Making the Rule of Law a Reality, pp. 131-132, Penal Reform International and Bluhm Legal Clinic of the Northwestern University School of Law, 2007.

[6] John Wuol Makec, Legal Aid and its Problems in the Sudan, in Access to Justice in Africa and Beyond: Making the Rule of Law a Reality, pp. 129-137, Penal Reform International and Bluhm Legal Clinic of the Northwestern University School of Law, 2007.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Swaziland

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Information current as of: June 1, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The Constitution guarantees defendants facing the death penalty not only a right to legal representation at the expense of the government but also the right to be informed of the nature of the charge, the right to be given sufficient time and facilities to prepare a defense, the right to call defense witnesses, and the right to the free assistance of an interpreter if necessary. [1] A 2014 report states that detainees can generally consult lawyers of their choice in a timely manner, that defendants are given adequate time to prepare a defense, and that defendants and their legal counsel are permitted access to government-held evidence, but reportedly not in politically sensitive cases. [2]

References

[1] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 21(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Swaziland, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220167.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Syria

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Information current as of: April 6, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The Syrian Bar Association is reported to be a non-independent organization controlled by the Syrian authorities. [1] The Bar Association is reported to have forbidden its lawyers in some cases to visit their clients in jail. [2] When the accused is tried by the Supreme State Security Court, “lawyers are not allowed to meet with their clients until the trial begins.” [3] It is also reported that guards regularly eavesdrop on prisoners' conversations with counsel. [4]

In June and July 2010, two lawyers were sentenced after a trial denounced as unfair by the International Federation for Human Rights to 3 years imprisonment on charges related to their professional activities as lawyers and human rights activists. [5]

References

[1] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Conviction of Haytham Al-Maleh, a 79 years-old human rights lawyer, signals continuing persecution of Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders in Syria, http://www.fidh.org/Conviction-of-Haytham-Al-Maleh-a-79-years-old, Jul. 5, 2010.
[2] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Summary report on the compliance of the trial of Mr. Muhannad Al-Hasani before the Second Criminal Court in Damascus with international standards of fair trial, http://www.fidh.org/Summary-report-on-the-compliance-of-the-trial-of, Jun. 30, 2010.
[3] U.N. Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee against Torture, Consideration of reports submitted by States parties under article 19 of the convention, Concluding observations of the Committee against Torture, Syrian Arab Republic, p. 4, para. 11, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/SYR/CO/1, May 25, 2010.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Syria, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136080.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[5] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Syria: Muhannad Al-Hasani sentenced to three years Imprisonment, http://www.fidh.org/SYRIA-Muhannad-Al-Hasani-sentenced-to-three-years, Jun. 23, 2010. Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Conviction of Haytham Al-Maleh, a 79 years-old human rights lawyer, signals continuing persecution of Lawyers and Human Rights Defenders in Syria, http://www.fidh.org/Conviction-of-Haytham-Al-Maleh-a-79-years-old, Jul. 5, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Taiwan

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Information current as of: April 22, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The quality of legal representation is very poor, [1] as might be anticipated given that a great many of the individuals under a final sentence of death are indigent persons who received the assistance of public defenders or appointed counsel. [2] Most defendants facing the death penalty are assigned a local public defender or lawyer who very often has no experience with death penalty cases and may even lack expertise in criminal law. There is no credential system for determining who is qualified to take up a death penalty case. The Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty is trying to improve this by offering training for lawyers. [3] Other sources confirm this; a Taiwanese attorney described the public defender system as “weak,” a system the government was seeking to abandon, and which is seen by some as fulfilling a mere formality—the work that public defenders do is “meaningless.” Many private firms do not allow attorneys to take pro bono work (which is actually paid work through legal aid). This attorney’s firm, however, did, and in his experience with “pro bono” work and court-appointed work he found that only high-profile cases were likely to involve co-counsel. [4]

An interview with a staff attorney for Legal Aid corroborates and adds to some of these details. Defendants usually have only one attorney, but may be assigned up to three, there are no standards for which lawyers can defend a capital case, and lawyers appointed by the Legal Aid Foundation (which is overseen by the judiciary) receive about a third of what they could get in the private market. Counsel for indigent defendants usually do not have the resources to obtain experts. Notably, because new legal arguments can be brought without regard to whether they were argued or issues were preserved in lower courts, incompetent representation at the trial stage can be somewhat mitigated. [5] However, after the Supreme Court has confirmed a death sentence, the defense must sometimes rely on the prosecutor’s cooperation in seeking an extraordinary appeal, and Ministry of Justice regulations and policy can restrict the time in which an individual has access to another appeal. [6]

References

[1] Hsin-Yi Lin & Celia Llopis-Jepsen, affiliated with the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, Questionnaire submitted to DPW, DPW Doc. External Questionnaire-1, Mar. 31, 2011.
[2] Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, A Blow to Human Rights: Taiwan Resumes Executions—The Death Penalty in Taiwan, 2010, p. 11, Mar. 28, 2010. This is a direct quote of that document, supplied by Hsin-Yi Lin & Celia Llopis-Jepsen, affiliated with the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, Questionnaire submitted to DPW, DPW Doc. External Questionnaire-1, Mar. 31, 2011.
[3] Hsin-Yi Lin & Celia Llopis-Jepsen, affiliated with the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty, Questionnaire submitted to DPW, DPW Doc. External Questionnaire-1, Mar. 31, 2011.
[4] Yi Fan Wang, affiliated with Northwestern University School of Law’s LLM Program, interview by DPW, DPW Doc. Taiwan Interview-1, Mar. 8, 2009.
[5] Rongzhi J.C. Kao, affiliated with the Legal Aid Foundation (Banciao), interview by Ronit Arié & Ellen Wight, DPW Doc. Taiwan Interview-2, Feb. 24, 2010.
[6] David T. Johnson & Franklin E. Zimring, The Next Frontier: National Development, Political Change, and the Death Penalty in Asia, p. 217-218, Oxford University Press, 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Tajikistan

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Information current as of: April 4, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The U.S. Department of State indicates that weak judicial independence undermines the relevance of quality representation in a system that favors evidence presented by the state. [1] Publications by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), U.N. Committee on Torture and the Human Rights Committee corroborate this. [2]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Tajikistan, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/sca/136094.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[2] O.S.C.E. ODIHR, Human Rights Section, The Death Penalty in the OSCE Area, p. 6-7, Background Paper 2009, Human Dimension Implementation Meeting, 2009; U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, Committee Against Torture, Concluding Observations and Recommendations: Tajikistan, generally, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/TJK/CO/1, Dec. 7, 2006; U.N. CCPR, Human Rights Committee, Communication No. 1195/2003 by Mr. Vladimir Dunaev, generally, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/95/D/1195/2003, Apr. 22, 2009.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Tanzania

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Information current as of: July 10, 2015

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Although the Legal Aid Act provides the right to legal counsel, there is a shortage of lawyers, paralegals, and legal aid workers in Tanzania. Legal providers such as the Legal and Human Rights Centre receive very little support. In rural areas where there is a major shortage of lawyers or advocates, legal service providers use the few trained paralegals to provide legal aid. [1] Zanzibar also lacks advocates; the number of practicing advocates is reportedly less than twenty. [2]

Moreover, accused persons are reportedly often denied the right to contact a lawyer or speak with family members. The lack of communication systems and infrastructure, shortage of lawyers in rural areas, and illiteracy and poverty of the accused result in limited access to legal counsel. [3]

References

[1] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, pp. 45-46, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[2] Legal and Human Rights Centre & Zanzibar Legal Services Centre, Tanzania Human Rights Reports 2012, p. 329, http://www.humanrights.or.tz/downloads/tanzania_human_rights_report_2012.pdf, 2013.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Tanzania, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, Arrest Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220169.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Thailand

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Information current as of: July 19, 2015

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The Court appoints lawyers who are selected from a list of those registered with the Courts. Most of these lawyers are junior lawyers who lack experience, and thus are not always able to provide high-quality counsel for their indigent clients. Moreover, court-appointed lawyers are not always given sufficient time to investigate or prepare cases. [1] In general, most of the legal aid for the indigent accused is provided on an ad-hoc basis by various NGOs and some government agencies, namely the Law Society of Thailand and the Thai Women Lawyers Association. [2] However, due to the insufficient resources of both the government and civil society, the quality of legal representation provided by court-appointed and other legal aid lawyers tends to be poor or in some cases, non-existent. One report observes that the fee paid to legal aid lawyers for representing a client at a court hearing may be roughly equal to the taxi fare to the court building. [3] In addition, police often conducted interrogations without providing access to an attorney. Some lawyers have stated that they were denied access to imprisoned clients. [4]

References

[1] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, The Death Penalty in Thailand, pp. 24-25, no. 411/2, Mar. 2005.
[2] Intl. Federation for Human Rights, The Death Penalty in Thailand, pp. 24-25, no. 411/2, Mar. 2005.
[3] Union for Civil Liberty, Prisons in Thailand, p. 35, 2011.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Thailand, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204241.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Tonga

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Information current as of: January 23, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

In the only recent sentencing for a capital offense—in this case involving a mandatory life sentence for murder—the Court stated that defendant’s counsel, in contesting the mandatory life sentence, had misstated law and failed to provide a complete analysis of the very limited set of relevant statutory resources. The Court, in dicta, explained why the death penalty applies only to the “rarest of rare” crimes, relying on various cases and legal resources that discuss criteria for discretion in sentencing. Defendant’s counsel apparently failed to use any of these resources to make any arguments that discretion during sentencing would also disallow the extreme punishment of life imprisonment without some exercise of court discretion (in its decision, the Court actually recommends parole after 10-15 years). [1] We found no other commentary on or indication of the adequacy of available representation in Tonga.

References

[1] For example, see Rex v. Ake, Case No. Cr. 140/05, Supreme Court of Tonga, Feb. 3, 2006.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Trinidad and Tobago

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Information current as of: October 1, 2013

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The first time a defendant may request legal aid is at the Preliminary Inquiry, in which a magistrate determines whether there is sufficient evidence for a trial before the High Court. Consequently, defendants are almost invariably unrepresented during questioning at the police station. There is no limit on how long a person may be detained at a police station without charge, but as a general rule the pre-charge detention will last over 48 hours. This is a very significant flaw in the availability of legal aid, because defense lawyers have testified that “[i]n the majority of capital cases the prosecution will rely on a statement allegedly provided by the defendant voluntarily whilst the defendant maintains it was obtained as a result of ill - treatment.” Further compounding this problem is the lack of a written confession rule and the admissibility of verbal statements allegedly made by the defendant and testified to by the interrogating police officer. [1]

The quality of legal representation provided at public expense is deficient. Assigned defense counsel tend to be relatively inexperienced as a result of what the Court of Appeal called the “ridiculously low fee” paid to defense counselors under the legal aid legislation. [2] In 1999, legislation increased the fees payable to defense counselors and the discretion of courts to award higher fees for more costly cases, and under this legislation it is also more likely that attorneys will be assigned to legal aid cases with sufficient time to prepare a competent defense. [3]

The quality of legal representation on appeal is also inadequate. Because legal aid does not cover the filing of a Notice of Appeal, defendants are often left to their own devices once their trial is over. An appellate attorney will only be assigned once the Notice of Appeal is filed, but most capital defendants are ill-equipped to file it themselves; many have problems with basic reading and writing skills. Consequently, appellate lawyers are frequently appointed only days before the appeal hearing, leaving insufficient time for preparation unless the court is willing to grant an adjournment. As a result, appeals are generally limited to errors below since attorneys are not given the resources to re-investigate and to gather new evidence. [4]

The 2001 Boodram case underlined the grave deficiencies of the public legal aid system in capital cases. The defendant was assigned a legal aid lawyer on appeal from her murder conviction because she could not afford to hire her trial lawyer. Her appointed counsel was not informed that he was to appear for her until the end of the prosecution’s case and did not request any transcripts or documents from the trial. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council found that the lawyer’s multiple failures revealed “either gross incompetence or a cynical dereliction of the most elementary professional duties”. The JCPC held that “the breaches are of such a fundamental nature that the conclusion must be that the defendant was deprived of due process” and that it was “the worst case of the failure of counsel to carry out his duties in a criminal case that their Lordships have come across.” [5]

References

[1] Desmond Allum & Gregory Delzin, Report on the Criminal Justice System in Trinidad and Tobago, para. 41, Bar Human Rights Committee, http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/content/report-criminal-justice-system-trinidad-and-tobago, 2003.
[2] Desmond Allum & Gregory Delzin, Report on the Criminal Justice System in Trinidad and Tobago, paras., Bar Human Rights Committee, http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/content/report-criminal-justice-system-trinidad-and-tobago, 2003.
[3] Desmond Allum & Gregory Delzin, Report on the Criminal Justice System in Trinidad and Tobago, paras. 41-56, Bar Human Rights Committee, http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/content/report-criminal-justice-system-trinidad-and-tobago, 2003..
[4] Desmond Allum & Gregory Delzin, Report on the Criminal Justice System in Trinidad and Tobago, paras. 86-89, Bar Human Rights Committee, http://www.barhumanrights.org.uk/content/report-criminal-justice-system-trinidad-and-tobago, 2003.
[5] Ann Marie Boodram v. The State, para. 40, Appeal No. 65 of 2000, JCPC, Apr. 10, 2011.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Tunisia

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Information current as of: February 17, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

As of January 2011, we did not find information on the quality of legal representation in capital cases in Tunisia. However, based on different reports, prior to former President Ben Ali’s departure from power, it seems that criminal lawyers experience many difficulties providing effective legal representation in Tunisia. According to the U.S. Department of State, “in most cases the presiding judge or a panel of judges dominates a trial, and attorneys have little opportunity to participate substantively. (…) Defense lawyers claimed that judges sometimes refused to let them call witnesses on their clients' behalf or to question key government witnesses. Defense lawyers contended that the courts often failed to grant adequate notice of trial dates or allow time to prepare their cases. There were reports that judges restricted access to court records and evidence, especially to records and evidence the government held, and in some cases required all the lawyers working on a case to examine documents together on a single date in judges' chambers, without allowing them to copy relevant documents.” [1] Amnesty International supports these statements: “in terrorism-related cases, defence rights have been frequently disregarded in breach of Tunisian national and international law. Defence lawyers complain that they are not given adequate time and facilities to prepare the defence and are required to spend considerable time in seeking to obtain copies of case files, which are often incomplete and may lack key documents. Lawyers complain also that they are sometimes denied access to their clients during pre-trial detention on the spurious grounds that their clients do not wish to see them and that when they do have access to them client-lawyer confidentiality may also be breached by the detaining authorities. Lawyers representing detainees in terrorism-related cases are also routinely intimidated and harassed by state authorities.” [2]

Harassment of human rights defenders, including lawyers, is a very serious issue in Tunisia: they are prosecuted, their homes are searched, they are subject of surveillance and physical assaults… [3]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Tunisia, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136081.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[2] Amnesty Intl., Tunisia, Briefing to the Human Rights Committee, p. 15, MDE 30/002/2008, Mar. 1, 2008.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Independent voices stifled in Tunisia, MDE 30/008/2010, Jul. 12, 2010; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on independence of judges and lawyers, Gabriela Carina Knaul de Albuquerque e Silva, Addendum, Communications to and from Governments, paras. 1081-1090, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/26/Add.1, Jun. 18, 2010 ; Intl. Federation for Human Rights & Conseil National pour les Libertés en Tunisie, Instrumentalisation de la Justice en Tunisie – Ingérences, Violations, Impunité, pp. 12, 13, http://www.fidh.org/Instrumentalisation-de-la-Justice-en-Tunisie, Jan. 12, 2011.

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Uganda

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Information current as of: May 14, 2014

General

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

According to the law, defendants facing capital charges have the right to a lawyer at the state’s expense. [1] However, in practice, the government does not have sufficient funds to provide satisfactory legal counsel, [2] leading to a poor quality of legal representation and arbitrary sentencing. [3] State-appointed lawyers assigned to capital cases do not thoroughly investigate cases or present all relevant evidence in court, sometimes leading to wrongful convictions. [4]

Free legal representation is provided by organizations such as the Public Defender’s Association, the Legal Aid Clinic of the Law Development Centre, and the Legal Aid Project of the Uganda Law Society. However, about 75% of capital defendants are represented by “state briefs,” who are private lawyers required to provide pro-bono representation. Unfortunately, many of the state briefs do not provide high quality representation. In most cases, the defendants are not interviewed by their briefs prior to trial and meet them for the first time at trial. State briefs only spend a few minutes discussing the case with their client. [5] During the trial, briefs usually only provide information from the case file; however, this information is often inaccurate or incomplete. [6] State briefs rarely cross-examine witnesses and request copies of the evidence. Furthermore, co-defendants are often represented by the same attorney, which can create a conflict of interest. [7]

In Susan Kigula and 416 others v. The Attorney General, the Constitutional Court of Uganda ruled that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional because it prevented a judge from taking all mitigating circumstances into account before imposing a sentence. [8] In the wake of this decision, the Foundation for Human Rights Initiatives (FHRI), with the support of the Foreign and Commonwealth office of the United Kingdom, recently launched a project expected to provide free legal assistance to inmates on death row. According to Mr. Livingstone Sewanyana, the executive director of FHRI, the project seeks to aid vulnerable people with poor backgrounds to have their death sentences reduced to life. The project also seeks to lobby for law reforms, conduct public education for various stakeholders, and disseminate sentencing guidelines. [9]

References

[1] The Constitution of the Republic of Uganda, art. 28(3)(d), abridged by The Uganda Law Reform Commission, Sept. 22, 1995.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Uganda, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/af/186254.htm, May 24, 2012.
[3] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. viii, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[4] Eric Mirguet, Thomas Lemaire & Mary Okosun, Uganda: Challenging the Death Penalty, p. 26, International Federation of Human Rights, No. 425/2, Oct. 2005.
[5] Graeme L. Hall, Death Row in Uganda, Counsel Magazine, p. 25, http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/documents/uploaded-documents/Counsel_2012_08_Int_Hall_(Final).pdf, Aug. 2012.
[6] Civil Society Coalition on the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda: The Foundation for Human Rights Initiative, Towards Abolition of the Death Penalty in Uganda, p. 29, Fountain Publishers, 2008.
[7] Graeme L. Hall, Death Row in Uganda, Counsel Magazine, p. 25, http://www.doughtystreet.co.uk/documents/uploaded-documents/Counsel_2012_08_Int_Hall_(Final).pdf, Aug. 2012.
[8] Susan Kigula & 416 Others v. Attorney General, Constitutional Appeal No.03 of 2006, Supreme Court of Uganda at Mengo, Jan. 21, 2009, available at http://www.refworld.org/cgi-bin/texis/vtx/rwmain?docid=499aa02c2, last accessed Mar. 4, 2014.
[9] Ephraim Kasozi and Betty Ndagire, Uganda: Death Sentence – Inmates to Get Free Legal Services, allAfrica.com, http://allafrica.com/stories/201110150118.html, Oct. 15, 2011.

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United Arab Emirates

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Information current as of: February 7, 2011

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Recently, both UAE judges and the Judicial Department have reprimanded death penalty defense lawyers for incompetent representation of indigent clients, denying license renewal to some defense attorneys for poor defense work. Lawyers have failed to attend trial, and one judge rebuked an attorney for not preparing any defense better than a denial to rape charges (which served as aggravation in a murder case) when the prosecution had made available DNA evidence. Some attorneys are being questioned on corruption charges, including for selling documents to the attorneys of opposing counsel (whether this means the prosecution or civil plaintiffs is unclear). The Judicial Department stated that attorneys should be assigned according to expertise and implied that better statutory rates are required to procure quality representation for the indigent. [1] The Judicial Department’s critique follows an upsurge in death sentences this year, [2] amid allegations of prosecutorial misconduct involving use of a taped, forced re-enactment of a gang murder as evidence at trial and the failure of the court or any party to put a stop to the use of such evidence. [3]

References

[1] Hassan Hassan, Death Penalty Lawyers Fail Clients, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/death-penalty-defence-lawyers-fail-clients, Oct. 17, 2010.
[2] Hands Off Cain, United Arab Emirates, http://english.nessunotocchicaino.it/bancadati/schedastato.php?idcontinente=23&nome=united%20arab%20emirates, last accessed Dec. 6, 2010.
[3] Amnesty Intl., UAE Must Investigate Allegations of Torture of Indian Men on Death Row, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/uae-must-investigate-allegations-torture-indian-men-death-row-2010-04-23, Apr. 22, 2010; Yasin Kakande, 17 Facing Death Penalty Deny Knowing Deceased, The National, http://www.thenational.ae/news/uae-news/courts/17-facing-death-penalty-deny-knowing-deceased, Sep. 1, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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United States of America

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Information current as of: March 10, 2014

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Even experienced attorneys may not provide quality representation for indigent capital defendants. Representation involves more than simply knowing the law or proper procedures—much of representation involves an attorney’s skillful use of investigators and experts to prepare and present a defense. But attorneys are often denied these resources. Stephen Bright, who wrote a seminal article on the inadequacy of indigent defense in the U.S. (1994), reported that in Alabama an attorney was granted only $500 for expert and investigative expenses. The attorney estimated that $30,000-$40,000 was actually required. [1] Unable to hire the necessary personnel, the attorney found that he could not conduct the proper investigation himself. “You don’t find the U.S. Attorney pounding the pavement, trying to investigate facts…And it just creates a terrible situation when you have to do everything yourself.” [2] Legal representation for indigent capital defendants can become a sort of “triage,” as even competent counsel is forced to make concessions in representation that, in any civil case, would amount to malpractice. [3]

Public defenders (or contracted public defenders) were gravely overloaded. In one case, an attorney was berated by a judge and eventually demoted by her office for pointing out that she had an ethical obligation to limit her caseload since she already had 122 cases to handle, and had closed 476 cases over the past 10 months. [4] By 2007, the American Bar Association observed that reimbursement for investigators or experts was still inadequate or nonexistent, and that funding in general was inadequate. [5] And the situation for public defenders (as of 2004) had not changed greatly. Although there is increased willingness to at least temporarily provide additional resources, public defenders sometimes have to resort to extreme methods, such as filing motions to withdraw from all cases, in order to drive the point home that adequate resources are essential—and they do so under threat of retaliation. [6]

But often counsel is simply not competent. Bright’s article outlines numerous cases where counsel had performed abysmally or not at all, resulting in wrongful convictions or death sentences pronounced for killings that are typically viewed as not meriting a death sentence. Individuals have sometimes been exonerated after pro bono attorneys take on the challenge left by incompetent counsel. [7] However, courts will uphold convictions and death sentences despite the obvious fact that incompetent counsel failed to offer evidence that typically convinces juries that harsh penalties are not deserved. [8] Errors of counsel in preserving issues for appeal are a significant factor in executions. [9] Justice Thurgood Marshall observed that courts often refuse to consider constitutional violations because of this procedural default doctrine. [10] And Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg has observed: “People who are well-represented at trial do not get the death penalty. I have yet to see a death case among the dozens coming to the Supreme Court on eve-of-execution stay applications in which the defendant was well-represented at trial.” [11]

Elected state judges may not be properly motivated to meet the challenge of finding and appointing competent counsel. [12] In 2004, the American Bar Association found that elected judges were disposed to appoint individuals who supported their campaigns—and this consideration may sometimes have been as important as the attorney’s competence to handle a case. The American Bar Association recommends that at the very least an independent board should appoint counsel for indigent clients to assure that appointment is based on merit, but in the nation’s lead executor, Texas, independent boards are virtually nonexistent. [13] As Bright observed, judges are unwilling to appoint experienced, established attorneys who do not wish to devote time to an indigent case; judges do appoint inexperienced and incompetent counsel; and judges have refused to remove counsel even when counsel itself requests removal based on its inexperience and lack of competency in capital cases. And Bright writes: “The reality is that popularly elected judges, confronted by a local community that is outraged…have little incentive to protect the constitutional rights of the one accused…Many state judges are former prosecutors who won their seats on the bench by exploiting high-publicity death penalty cases.” [14]

The U.N. Human Rights Committee observed (2006) that the quality of legal aid available to indigent defendants had somewhat improved. [15]

References

[1] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1847, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[2] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1847-1848, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[3] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1848, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[4] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1851, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[5] ABA, State Death Penalty Assessments: Key Findings, http://www.americanbar.org/content/dam/aba/migrated/keyfindings_2.authcheckdam.pdf, Oct. 29, 2007.
[6] ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, Gideon’s Broken Promise: America’s Continuing Quest for Equal Justice, p. 17-18, Dec. 2004.
[7] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1838, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[8] See, for instance, Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1835, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[9] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1872 fn. 212, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[10] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1862, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[11] Death Penalty Information Center, Statements on the Death Penalty by Supreme Court Justices, http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/statements-death-penalty-supreme-court-justices#moratorium, last accessed Feb. 15, 2014 (quote from the Associated Press, Apr. 10, 2001).
[12] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1856, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[13] ABA Standing Committee on Legal Aid and Indigent Defendants, Gideon’s Broken Promise: America’s Continuing Quest for Equal Justice, p. 20, 21, 39, Dec. 2004.
[14] Stephen B. Bright, Counsel for the Poor: The Death Sentence Not for the Worst Crime but for the Worst Lawyer, p. 1856-1857, Yale L.J. Vol. 103, p. 1835, 1994.
[15] U.N. CCPR, Human Rights Committee, Consideration of Reports Submitted by States Parties under Article 40 of the Covenant, para. 29, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/USA/CO/3, Sep. 15, 2006.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

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Vietnam

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Information current as of: May 23, 2014

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

During pretrial detention, detainees often encounter delays in or denial of access to legal counsel. This is particularly true in national security cases, where defense lawyers see their clients only after the investigation has ended and the suspect is formally charged with a crime. Regulations allow for investigations to continue without access to counsel for more than two years. Defendants are not always informed of the right to request a lawyer prior to interrogation. [1]

Defense lawyers commonly have little time before trial to examine the evidence against their clients. The defense has the right to cross-examine witnesses, but there are reportedly cases in which neither the defendants nor their lawyers are given access to government evidence to prepare cross-examinations or to challenge the statements of their accusers. [2] In politically sensitive cases, lawyers are denied timely access to their clients and the evidence against them. [3] Lawyers are often not notified of their client’s trial date until the last minute. [4]

Authorities pressure lawyers not to represent religious or democracy activists. Some human rights attorneys who represent political activists have been harassed, arrested, disbarred, and detained by authorities. In national security cases, judges occasionally silence defense lawyers on the grounds that their arguments are “reactionary.” [5] Lawyers have been arrested for defending human rights, and Vietnam’s Bar Association is subject to political influence and restrictions that deter people from practicing law. [6] The Norwegian Bar Association indicates that lawyers working on national security cases face difficulties in renting offices and resident permits, and are subject to harassment by the police and organized mobs. They also have limited access to their clients, lack of privacy with their clients, and restricted access to case documents. Their right to criticize authorities and invoke human rights instruments during trial is also restricted. For example, Cu Huy Ha Vu, a lawyer who filed lawsuits against the government and provided legal support to democracy activists, was arrested in 2010, charged with “conducting propaganda against the [State],” and sentenced to seven years in prison. [7] In August 2011, Huynh Van Dong was disbarred from the Dak Lak Bar Association for “advocating on behalf of accused individuals” because he protested being denied access to essential legal documents while representing land-right activists. [8]

While a defendant is allowed to be present with a lawyer at trial, often it is not the lawyer of his or her choice. [9]

In general, there is a shortage of trained lawyers in Vietnam. [10]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Vietnam, Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204251.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Vietnam, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204251.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[3] Human Rights Watch, UPR Submission: Vietnam, p. 3, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/viet_nam/session_18_-_january_2014/hrw_upr18_vnm_e_main.pdf, Jun. 2013.
[4] Intl. Federation of Human Rights & Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, Universal Periodic Review of Vietnam: United Nations Human Rights Council, p. 5, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/viet_nam/session_18_-_january_2014/js4_upr18_vnm_e_main.pdf, Jun. 17, 2013.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Vietnam, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204251.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[6] Human Rights Watch, UPR Submission: Vietnam, p. 3, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/viet_nam/session_18_-_january_2014/hrw_upr18_vnm_e_main.pdf, Jun. 2013.
[7] The Norwegian Bar Association, Submission to the Universal Periodic Review of Vietnam in 2014, pp. 3, 5, 7, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/viet_nam/session_18_-_january_2014/nba_upr18_vnm_e_main.pdf, Jun. 17, 2013.
[8] Intl. Federation of Human Rights & Vietnam Committee on Human Rights, Universal Periodic Review of Vietnam: United Nations Human Rights Council, p. 4, footnote 7, http://www.upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/viet_nam/session_18_-_january_2014/js4_upr18_vnm_e_main.pdf, Jun. 17, 2013.
[9] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Vietnam, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204251.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Vietnam, Arrest Procedures and Treatment While in Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/eap/204251.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.

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Yemen

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Information current as of: April 4, 2011

General

Country Details

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Human rights defenders face reprisals, including assassination attempts and retaliatory detention and charges on potentially capital offenses. [1] In some cases, courts prevent attorneys from providing effective representation by prohibiting their access to critical evidence, and attorneys may not be able to protect their clients by excluding evidence obtained through torture. [2] While the government has undertaken to modernize legal education, [3] the government may also be failing to provide an environment in which effective representation is likely.

References

[1] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Written Statement Submitted by the Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, a Non-Governmental Organization in Special Consultative Status, pp. 2-3, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/NGO/24, May 21, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Yemen: Submission to the Universal Periodic Review, p. 7, MDE 31/012/2008, Nov. 10, 2008; Alkarama, Yemen: Universal Periodic Review, sec. 3, http://en.alkarama.org/index.php?option=com_docman&task=cat_view&gid=275&limit=25&limitstart=0&order=name&dir=DESC&Itemid=80, Nov. 3, 2008; U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers, Leandro Despouy, paras. 348-349, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/8/4/Add.1, May 28, 2008.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Yemen, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136083.htm, Mar. 11, 2010; Intl. Federation for Human Rights, Yemen: In the Name of National Security… Human Rights Violations in Yemen, Part III, N°535a, Jan. 26, 2010; U.N. Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment Committee Against Torture, Consideration of Reports Submitted by State Parties under Article 19 of the Convention, Provisional Concluding Observations of the Committee Against Torture: Yemen, sec. 12, U.N. Doc. CAT/C/YEM/CO/2, Dec. 17, 2009.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National Report Submitted in Accordance with Paragraph 15(A) of the Annex to Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1, sec. 9(b), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/5/YEM/1, Feb. 20, 2009.

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Zambia

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Information current as of: July 20, 2015

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Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

While public defenders are ostensibly available both at the trial level and on appeal, public defenders often struggle under the weight of a heavy caseload, which undoubtedly impairs the quality of legal representation they are able to provide. [1] The Legal Aid Board reportedly has difficulty finding and retaining lawyers because of the poor working conditions, and this has resulted in indigent persons being denied legal aid, especially in rural areas. The small number of cases covered by the Legal Aid Board, however, reportedly include serious criminal trials before the High Court. [2]

Across the board, 64% of Zambian prisoners interviewed in 2009 had never been represented by a lawyer, a number which rises to 73% for juveniles under the age of 18 and 76% for women. [3]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Report: Zambia, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/documents/organization/220386.pdf, Feb. 27, 2014.
[2] Alfred S. Magagula, Update: The Law and Legal Research in Zambia, The Legal Aid Board, GlobaLex, http://www.nyulawglobal.org/globalex/Zambia1.htm#thelegalaidboard, Nov./Dec. 2011.
[3] Human Rights Watch, Unjust and Unhealthy: HIV, TB, and Abuse in Zambian Prisons, p. 2, http://www.hrw.org/reports/2010/04/27/unjust-and-unhealthy-0, Apr. 27, 2010.

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Zimbabwe

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Information current as of: November 5, 2012

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Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

International Commitments

Death Penalty In Law

Death Penalty In Practice

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Indigent defendants provided with Legal Aid counsel receive poor legal representation. Legal Aid is underfunded, and some attorneys only meet with their clients shortly before trial. [1] Moreover, it has been reported that in some cases, prison authorities obstruct detainees’ access to their lawyers. Sometimes attorneys who attempt to visit their clients are told that their clients are “not available.” [2] This undermines the quality of available legal representation.

References

[1] Brian Hungwe, On Zimbabwe’s Death Row Without a Lawyer, BBC News, http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8675062.stm, May 12, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Zimbabwe, Arbitrary Arrest or Detention, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/humanrightsreport/index.htm?dlid=186257, May 24, 2012.

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