Death Penalty Worldwide

Barbados

Last updated on March 7, 2013

General

Official Country Name

Barbados. [1]

Geographical Region

Latin America (Caribbean). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging.
Although we did not find a statutory resource indicating that the death penalty is executed by hanging, in Barbados’ reservations to the American Convention on Human Rights, Barbados states that murder and treason are punished by death by hanging. [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Barbados, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/barbados/191083.htm, Nov. 2, 2011.
[2] U.N., Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm, Feb. 11, 2013.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Imminent Execution, AMR 15/001/2005, Feb. 11, 2005. Amnesty Intl., St. Kitts and Nevis—Death Penalty: Legal Concern, AMR/59/001/2009, Feb. 12, 2009. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, ACT 50/011/2011, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2011/en, Mar. 27, 2011. Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[4] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.

Country Details

Language(s)

English. [1]

Population

281,698. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

4. [3]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2014 to date (last updated on November 7, 2014)

0. [4]

Executions in 2013

0. [5]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [6]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [8]

Executions in 2009

0. [9]

Executions in 2008

0. [10]

Executions in 2007

0. [11]

Year of Last Known Execution

1984. [12]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Barbados, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/barbados/191083.htm, Nov. 2, 2011.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Barbados, http://www.state.gov/outofdate/bgn/barbados/191083.htm, Nov. 2, 2011.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[4] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010 in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 20, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008
[12] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Imminent Execution, AMR 15/001/2005, Feb. 11, 2005; Amnesty Intl., St. Kitts and Nevis—Death Penalty: Legal Concern, AMR 59/001/2009, Feb. 12, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Murder. [1]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Terrorism resulting in death is punishable by death only if the act would have qualified as murder or high treason prior to May 30, 2002. [2]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Terrorism not resulting in death is punishable by death only if the act would have qualified as high treason prior to May 30, 2002. [3]

Treason.
Individuals who commit high treason—murdering the Queen or the elected or acting Governor General, committing or preparing for acts of war against Barbados, assisting an enemy at war with Barbados or engaged in hostilities with Barbados forces who are operating for the Commonwealth—are punishable by death. [4] A person subject to military law who intentionally assists or attempts to assist the enemy through action or dereliction is punishable by death. [5]

Espionage.
A person subject to military law who intentionally assists or attempts to assist the enemy by providing or attempting to provide intelligence to the enemy is punishable by death. [6]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Participating in a mutiny is punishable by death. [7]

Comments.
Much of Barbados law descends from English common law as a result of the country’s colonial history. Barbados statutes that provide for the death penalty followed English statutes which codified 19th century criminal rules. When laws calling for capital punishment were repealed in the United Kingdom, Barbados retained its own statutes influenced by English law even after its independence in 1966. [8]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Unsure. In Boyce v. Barbados, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights ruled that the mandatory death penalty violates Articles 4(1) and 4(2)—which prohibit arbitrary treatment and limit the death penalty to the most serious crimes—of the American Convention on Human Rights. The court implied that the mandatory death penalty also violates the rights to humane treatment and a fair trial under Articles 5 and 8 of the Convention. The court determined that Barbados’ continued efforts to preserve the mandatory death penalty violated Article 2 of the Convention, which requires state parties to actively legislate and take other action to assure the rights guaranteed under the Convention, and ordered Barbados to amend its Constitution and laws accordingly. [9]

The IACHR’s opinion in Cadogan v. Barbados could be read as implying some doubt as to whether the mandatory death penalty is still applied in Barbados, [10] and the U.N. Human Rights Council’s comments pursuant to its 2009 Universal Periodic Review urge Barbados to clearly eliminate the mandatory death penalty. [11] News sources indicated in 2009 that Barbados would amend its Constitution and laws in compliance with its treaty obligations, as ordered in Boyce, but those changes have not yet been implemented. [12]

According to a 2011 report, legislation is in the works to take the mandatory death penalty off the table in Barbados. Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs told The Barbados Advocate that the recent decisions of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Boyce and Cadogan have initiated the government’s movement towards rewriting legislation. [13] As of January 13, 2013, we did not find any updated reports of such legislation being passed. [14]

For Which Offenses, If Any, Is a Mandatory Death Sentence Imposed?

Murder.
Legislation provides that the mandatory death sentence is imposed for murder. [15] After Boyce v. Barbados, the mandatory death penalty should no longer be applied, [16] but there have been to date no amendments to bring legislation in line with Barbados’s international obligations.

According to a 2011 report, legislation is in the works to take the mandatory death penalty off the table in Barbados. Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs told The Barbados Advocate that the recent decisions of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Boyce and Cadogan have initiated the government’s movement towards rewriting legislation. [17] As of January 13, 2013, we did not find any updated reports of such legislation being passed. [18]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Legislation provides that the mandatory death sentence is imposed for terrorism that can be characterized as murder or high treason. [19] After Boyce v. Barbados, the mandatory death penalty should no longer be applied, [20] but there have been to date no amendments to bring legislation in line with Barbados’s international obligations.

According to a 2011 report, legislation is in the works to take the mandatory death penalty off the table in Barbados. Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs told The Barbados Advocate that the recent decisions of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Boyce and Cadogan have initiated the government’s movement towards rewriting legislation. [21] As of January 13, 2013, we did not find any updated reports of such legislation being passed. [22]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Legislation provides that the mandatory death sentence is imposed for terrorism that can be characterized as murder or high treason. [23] After Boyce v. Barbados, the mandatory death penalty should no longer be applied, [24] but there have been to date no amendments to bring legislation in line with Barbados’s international obligations.

According to a 2011 report, legislation is in the works to take the mandatory death penalty off the table in Barbados. Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs told The Barbados Advocate that the recent decisions of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Boyce and Cadogan have initiated the government’s movement towards rewriting legislation. [25] As of January 13, 2013, we did not find any updated reports of such legislation being passed. [26]

Treason.
Legislation provides that the mandatory death sentence is imposed for high treason, and terrorism that can be characterized as high treason. [27] After Boyce v. Barbados, the mandatory death penalty should no longer be applied, [28] but there have been to date no amendments to bring legislation in line with Barbados’s international obligations.

According to a 2011 report, legislation is in the works to take the mandatory death penalty off the table in Barbados. Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs told The Barbados Advocate that the recent decisions of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Boyce and Cadogan have initiated the government’s movement towards rewriting legislation. [29] As of January 13, 2013, we did not find any updated reports of such legislation being passed. [30]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No one has been executed since 1984. [31]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime. [32]

Pregnant Women.
Pregnant women cannot be sentenced to death. [33]

Mentally Retarded.
An individual who commits a crime while suffering from “abnormality of mind” due to “arrested or retarded development…or any inherent cause or induced by disease or injury [so as to] substantially impair his mental responsibility” cannot be convicted of murder but may instead be convicted of manslaughter. Note that this exception is only explicitly stated for the offense of murder. [34]

Mentally Ill.
An individual who commits a crime while suffering from “abnormality of mind” due to “arrested or retarded development…or any inherent cause or induced by disease or injury [so as to] substantially impair his mental responsibility” cannot be convicted of murder, but may instead be convicted of manslaughter. Note that this exception is only explicitly stated for the offense of murder. [35]

References

[1] Barbados Offenses Against the Person Act, art. 2, No. 18 of 1994.
[2] Barbados Anti-Terrorism Act, art. 3(1)(c), No. 6 of 2002. Barbados Offenses Against the Person Act, art. 2, No. 18 of 1994. Barbados Treason Act, arts. 2, 7, No. 1 of 1980.
[3] Barbados Anti-Terrorism Act, art. 3(1)(c), No. 6 of 2002. Barbados Treason Act, arts. 2, 7, No. 1 of 1980.
[4] Barbados Treason Act, arts. 2, 7, No. 1 of 1980.
[5] Barbados Defence Act, arts. 35-36, No. 25 of 1979.
[6] Barbados Defence Act, arts. 35-36, No. 25 of 1979.
[7] Barbados Defence Act, arts. 42-43, No. 25 of 1979.
[8] Boyce v. Queen Respondent, paras. 8, 9, Privy Council Appeal No. 99 of 2002, The Court of Appeal of Barbados, July 7, 2004.
[9] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007; Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, art. 2, 1114 U.N.T.S. 123, O.A.S.T.S. No. 36, Nov. 22, 1969.
[10] Cadogan v. Barbados, paras. 86-90, Ser. C No. 204, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Sep. 24, 2009.
[11] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, para. 77, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/10/73, Jan. 9, 2009.
[12] Caribbean360.com, Barbados Government Abolishing Mandatory Death Sentence, http://www.caribbean360.com/News/Caribbean/Stories/2009/05/04/NEWS0000007321.html, May 4, 2009.
[13] Janelle Riley-Thornhill, Death Penalty Review, The Barbados Advocate, http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?NewsID=20123, Oct. 2, 2011. CMC, Barbados ‘to Abolish the Death Penalty,’ Antigua Observer, http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=65307, Oct. 2, 2011.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[15] Barbados Offenses Against the Person Act, art. 2, No. 18 of 1994.
[16] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[17] Janelle Riley-Thornhill, Death Penalty Review, The Barbados Advocate, http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?NewsID=20123, Oct. 2, 2011. CMC, Barbados ‘to Abolish the Death Penalty,’ Antigua Observer, http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=65307, Oct. 2, 2011.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[19] Barbados Anti-Terrorism Act, art. 3(1)(c), No. 6 of 2002. Barbados Offenses Against the Person Act, art. 2, No. 18 of 1994. Barbados Treason Act, arts. 2, 7, No. 1 of 1980.
[20] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[21] Janelle Riley-Thornhill, Death Penalty Review, The Barbados Advocate, http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?NewsID=20123, Oct. 2, 2011. CMC, Barbados ‘to Abolish the Death Penalty,’ Antigua Observer, http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=65307, Oct. 2, 2011.
[22] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[23] Barbados Anti-Terrorism Act, art. 3(1)(c), No. 6 of 2002. Barbados Offenses Against the Person Act, art. 2, No. 18 of 1994. Barbados Treason Act, arts. 2, 7, No. 1 of 1980.
[24] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[25] Janelle Riley-Thornhill, Death Penalty Review, The Barbados Advocate, http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?NewsID=20123, Oct. 2, 2011. CMC, Barbados ‘to Abolish the Death Penalty,’ Antigua Observer, http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=65307, Oct. 2, 2011.
[26] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[27] Barbados Anti-Terrorism Act, art. 3(1)(c), No. 6 of 2002. Barbados Treason Act, arts. 2, 7, No. 1 of 1980.
[28] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[29] Janelle Riley-Thornhill, Death Penalty Review, The Barbados Advocate, http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?NewsID=20123, Oct. 2, 2011. CMC, Barbados ‘to Abolish the Death Penalty,’ Antigua Observer, http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=65307, Oct. 2, 2011.
[30] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[31] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Imminent Execution, AMR 15/001/2005, Feb. 11, 2005. Amnesty Intl., St. Kitts and Nevis—Death Penalty: Legal Concern, AMR 59/001/2009, Feb. 12, 2009. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[32] Barbados Juvenile Offenders Act as amended by Act No. 26 of 1989, art. 14, No. 8 of 1932.
[33] Sentence of Death (Expectant Mothers) Act, art. 2, No. 6 of 1934.
[34] Barbados Offenses Against the Person Act, art. 4, No. 18 of 1994.
[35] Barbados Offenses Against the Person Act, art. 4, No. 18 of 1994.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

January 5, 1973. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Recognizing Jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee

Party?

Yes. [4]

Date of Accession

January 5, 1973. [5]

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, Toward the Abolition of the Death Penalty

Party?

No. [7]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [8]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Yes. [9]

Date of Accession

November 5, 1981. [10]

Signed?

Yes. [11]

Date of Signature

June 20, 1978. [12]

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

No. [13]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [14]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [15]

Vote

Against. [16]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [17]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [18]

Vote

Against. [19]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [20]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [21]

Vote

Against. [22]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [23]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [24]

Vote

Against. [25]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [26]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[8] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[9] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[10] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[11] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[12] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[13] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, A-53: Prot. to the Amer. Conv. on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, Jun. 8, 1990, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic8.death%20penalty%20ratif.htm, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[14] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, A-53: Prot. to the Amer. Conv. on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, Jun. 8, 1990, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic8.death%20penalty%20ratif.htm, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[15] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[16] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[17] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[18] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, includng alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[19] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[20] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[21] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[22] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[23] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[24] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, pp. 3-4, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[25] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[26] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

Does the country’s constitution make reference to capital punishment?

Article 12.1 states: “No person shall be deprived of his life intentionally save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offense under the law of Barbados of which he has been convicted.” [1] This implies the death penalty may be constitutional. Additionally, in 2002 Article 15 of the Constitution was amended to provide that “imposition of a mandatory sentence of death or execution of such a sentence” would not be held to contravene protections against cruel and inhuman treatment under the Constitution. [2] It is unclear whether this amendment continues to offer constitutional support for the death penalty after the Inter-American Court of Human Rights in Boyce v. Barbados (2007) ordered Barbados to amend its Constitution and laws to limit the death penalty consistently with the American Convention on Human Rights, which is prohibits the mandatory death penalty. [3]

Does the country’s constitution make reference to international law?

Barbados’ constitution does not explicitly reference international human rights law; however, it does provide for a multinational court—currently the Caribbean Court of Justice—with the power to adjudicate appeals related to fundamental human rights. [4]

Have there been any significant changes in the application of the death penalty over the last several years?

There has been no execution of a death sentence since 1984. [5] This may be in part due to the effect of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council’s ruling in Pratt & Morgan v. Jamaica, under which death-sentenced prisoners are entitled to have their sentences commuted if they spend more than 5 years on death row. [6] The rationale for this decision was that prisoners who spend lengthy periods on death row are subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.

In 2003, Barbados replaced the JCPC with the Caribbean Court of Justice as its court of final instance. [7] It also amended its constitution to provide that “any delay” in execution of a death sentence does not constitute inhuman treatment, [8] which could affect the application of Pratt. In 2006, the CCJ—while not endorsing a bright-line 5-year rule—endorsed the principle that lengthy stays on death row constitute inhuman treatment. [9] However, the CCJ also noted that Barbados’ as-amended Constitution precludes judicial application of the Pratt principle on behalf of those sentenced to death after 2003. [10]

That ruling could call Pratt into question; however, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights indicated in 2007 that Barbados is not free to amend its constitution to circumvent the prohibition against inhuman treatment in Article 8 of the American Convention on Human Rights. [11] In addition, the CCJ’s ruling that lengthy stays on death row constitute inhuman treatment supports continued judicial application of some form of the Pratt rule respecting the execution of death sentences.

The awarding of death sentences may be significantly limited by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights’ ruling in Boyce v. Barbados that the mandatory death penalty “compels the indiscriminate imposition of the same punishment for conduct that can be vastly different” and “fails to individualize the sentence in conformity with the characteristics of the crime, as well as the participation and degree of culpability of the accused” and thus “violates the prohibition against the arbitrary deprivation of life and fails to limit the application of the death penalty to the most serious crimes, in contravention of Article 4(1) and 4(2) of the [American Convention on Human Rights].” [12] The IACHR ordered Barbados to amend its constitution and laws to comply with its treaty obligations. [13] While reports in 2009 indicated that Barbados would do so, [14] no amendments have since been passed.

Finally, under Cadogan v. Barbados, Barbados must inform a defendant of the right to psychiatric evaluation and permit expert testimony as to the accused person’s mental state at the time of the offense, [15] which could help assure the protection of the mentally ill or retarded under Barbados’ law. [16]

According to a 2011 report, legislation is in the works to take the mandatory death penalty off the table in Barbados. Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs told The Barbados Advocate that the recent decisions of the Inter-American Court on Human Rights in Boyce and Cadogan have initiated the government’s movement towards rewriting legislation. [17] As of January 13, 2013, we did not find any updated reports of such legislation being passed. [18]

Is there currently an official moratorium on executions within the country?

No. [19]

Have there been any significant published cases concerning the death penalty in national courts?

No cases significantly altering application of the death penalty have recently been determined in national courts. Ultimately, death penalty issues in Barbados are judicially resolved by the Caribbean Court of Justice, a multi-national court, and the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, a regional court that applies the American Convention on Human Rights.

One of the most significant recent cases concerns challenges to the death sentences awarded to Boyce and others—challenges which have affected multiple areas of law. The IACHR in 2007 determined that Barbados cannot apply the mandatory death penalty consistently with its obligations under the Convention, and held that Barbados cannot rely on domestic constitutional provisions to avoid its obligations under the Convention. [20] The CCJ in 2006, while acknowledging that lengthy stays on death row constitute inhuman treatment, nonetheless indicated that a 2003 constitutional amendment precludes such a challenge to execution of a death sentence awarded after 2003. [21] This opinion conflicts with the IACHR’s later ruling indicating that Barbados cannot simply amend its constitution to avoid its obligation under the Convention to refrain from inhuman treatment, and it is unclear how Barbados will ultimately resolve this issue. [22]

In Cadogan v. Barbados, the IACHR confirmed Boyce and emphasized that psychiatrists, not trial judges, are competent to inform the jury as to a defendant’s mental state at the time of the offense. The IACHR held that Barbados must inform a defendant of the right to psychiatric evaluation and permit expert testimony as to the accused person’s mental state at the time of the offense. [23]

Where can one locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty?

Barbados’ Supreme Court maintains a website through which a researcher may access both reported and unreported opinions of courts in Barbados: http://www.lawcourts.gov.bb/Lawlibrary/Judgments.asp.

Additionally, because the Caribbean Court of Justice is, although a multi-national court, the court of last resort for domestic appeal in Barbados, a researcher will want to review that court’s decisions, available at: http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/judgments-proceedings/appellate-jurisdiction-judgments.

Prior to 2003, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was the court of final instance for Barbados, and its decisions can be accessed at: http://www.jcpc.gov.uk/decided-cases/index.html and http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/judicial-committee/judgments/.

Decisions of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights can be accessed at: http://www.corteidh.or.cr/casos.cfm.

What is the clemency process?

According to the Barbados constitution, the Governor General, who presides over the Barbados Privy Council, has the power to grant clemency based on the Privy Council’s recommendations. [24]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Yes. [25]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Defendants may appeal sentences of the High Court as of right on questions of law. Defendants may also appeal sentences of the High Court as of right when the trial judge certifies that there are questions of fact or mixed fact and law sufficient to justify appellate review. All other appeals are by leave of the Court of Appeal. A defendant may appeal against conviction, and after the decision in Boyce v. Barbados (striking down the mandatory death penalty), a defendant should be able to appeal against the sentence of death as a non-fixed sentence. [26]

After a decision by the Court of Appeal, a defendant may appeal to the Caribbean Court of Justice in its appellate jurisdiction. Appeal lies as of right for questions of law, questions involving the Constitution or final decisions of the High Court on a criminal manner, and otherwise is by leave of the CCJ. [27]

Finally, after domestic remedies have been exhausted, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights has jurisdiction to hear appeals by capital defendants who allege their rights under the American Convention on Human Rights have been violated. [28]

References

[1] Barbados Constitution, art. 12(1), Nov. 30, 1966.
[2] Barbados Constitution (Amendment) Act, arts. 2, 5, No. 14 of 2002.
[3] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62, 127, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[4] Barbados Constitution, art. 24, 27, 79, 80, 84, 87, 88, Ch. VII, Schedule 1, Nov. 30, 1966; Barbados Constitution (Amendment) Act, generally, No. 34 of 2003.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[6] Pratt & Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, p. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, 1993. Attorney General v. Boyce, paras. 49, 66, Appeal No. CV 2 of 2005, Caribbean Court of Justice, Jun. 21, 2006.
[7] Barbados Constitution (Amendment) Act, generally, No. 34 of 2003.
[8] Barbados Constitution (Amendment) Act, arts. 2, 5, No. 14 of 2002.
[9] Attorney General v. Boyce, paras. 15, 47, 117, 126, 131, 138-139, Appeal No. CV 2 of 2005, Caribbean Court of Justice, Jun. 21, 2006.
[10] Attorney General v. Boyce, paras. 15, 126, 139, Appeal No. CV 2 of 2005, Caribbean Court of Justice, Jun. 21, 2006.
[11] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[12] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 54, 61, 62, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[13] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[14] Caribbean360.com, Barbados Government Abolishing Mandatory Death Sentence, http://www.caribbean360.com/News/Caribbean/Stories/2009/05/04/NEWS0000007321.html, May 4, 2009.
[15] Cadogan v. Barbados, paras. 86-90, Ser. C No. 204, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Sep. 24, 2009.
[16] Barbados Offenses Against the Person Act, art. 4, No. 18 of 1994.
[17] Janelle Riley-Thornhill, Death Penalty Review, The Barbados Advocate, http://www.barbadosadvocate.com/newsitem.asp?NewsID=20123, Oct. 2, 2011. CMC, Barbados ‘to Abolish the Death Penalty,’ Antigua Observer, http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=65307, Oct. 2, 2011.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT People Still Need to be Addressed, Submission to the U.N. Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/AMR15/001/2012/en, July 1, 2012.
[19] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[20] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[21] Attorney General v. Boyce, paras. 15, 47, 117, 126, 131, 138-139, Appeal No. CV 2 of 2005, Caribbean Court of Justice, Jun. 21, 2006.
[22] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[23] Cadogan v. Barbados, paras. 86-90, Ser. C No. 204, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Sep. 24, 2009.
[24] Barbados Constitution, arts. 76-78, Nov. 30, 1966.
[25] Barbados Criminal Procedure Act as amended by Act No. 17 of 1992, art. 7, No. 18 of 1891. U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Barbados, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/wha/186489.htm, May 24, 2012.
[26] Barbados Criminal Procedure Act as amended by Act No. 17 of 1992, art. 4-5, No. 18 of 1891. Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[27] Barbados Criminal Procedure Act as amended by Act No. 17 of 1992, art. 37, No. 18 of 1891. Barbados Constitution (Amendment) Act, generally, No. 34 of 2003.
[28] Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, arts. 44, 46, 1114 U.N.T.S. 123, O.A.S.T.S. No. 36, Nov. 22, 1969. Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

All prisoners in Barbados are housed in the Dodds prison facility. [1]

Description of Prison Conditions

Prison conditions prior to completion of the Dodds prison facility were overcrowded, harsh and degrading (with death-sentenced prisoners sometimes kept in cages), although this was in part due to a disaster and the destruction of facilities rather than to an intent to expose prisoners to inhuman treatment. [2] Barbados finished construction on the Dodds prison facility in 2007. According to the U.S. Department of State, that facility is up to international standards and is not overcrowded. In November 2011, the prison held 1,032 inmates. The prison’s maximum capacity sits at 1,250. There are complaints about the prison food, and prisoners with families willing to pay may obtain better food and toiletries than do other prisoners. Female prisoners are housed in a separate wing. In November 2011, there were 36 female inmates in the facility. Juvenile boys and girls are also detained in separate areas. [3]

Are there any known foreign nationals currently under sentence of death?

No. [4]

What are the nationalities of the known foreign nationals on death row?

There are no foreign nationals currently known to be on death row. [5]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

No. [6]

Are there any reports of individuals currently under sentence of death who may have been under the age of 18 at the time the crime was committed?

Juvenile offenders cannot be executed, [7] and by the end of our research we had not found any reports of individuals sentenced to death for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

By the end of our research we had not found any reports regarding the racial/ethnic composition of death row.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Yes. [8]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Yes. [9]

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. [10] 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. [11]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

U.S. Department of State reports indicate that Barbados’ criminal justice system functions smoothly and without delay in pre-trial stages, with occasional police errors and no pattern of institutionalized abuse. [12]

References

[1] International Centre for Prison Studies, World Prison Brief: Barbados, http://www.prisonstudies.org/info/worldbrief/wpb_country.php?country=60, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[2] Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 90-102, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Barbados, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136100.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Barbados, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/wha/186489.htm, May 24, 2012.
[4] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[5] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, accessed Feb. 23, 2010.last accessed Jan. 13, 2013.
[6] Ministry of Prisons, Interview, Mar. 12, 2010.
[7] Barbados Juvenile Offenders Act as amended by Act No. 26 of 1989, art. 14, No. 8 of 1932.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Barbados, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/wha/186489.htm, May 24, 2012. Barbados Community Legal Services Act, arts. 18-22, schedule 1, No. 33 of 1981.
[9] U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Barbados, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/wha/186489.htm, May 24, 2012. Barbados Community Legal Services Act, arts. 18-22, schedule 1, No. 33 of 1981.
[10] Cadogan v. Barbados, paras. 91-93, Ser. C No. 204, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Sep. 24, 2009.
[11] 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).
[12] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Barbados, Respect for the Integrity of the Person, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136100.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. U.S. Dept. of State, 2011 Human Rights Report: Barbados, Respect for the Integrity of the Person, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2011/wha/186489.htm, May 24, 2012.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

In 2007, the UN Human Rights Committee published concluding observations and recommendations in its periodic review of human rights in Barbados. The HRC recommended that Barbados assure effective legal remedies for those sentenced to death, eliminate the mandatory death penalty, limit application of the death penalty to the most serious crimes, and abolish the death penalty. [1]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In 2009, the Human Rights Council published recommendations pursuant to its Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Barbados. The HRC recommended that Barbados eliminate the mandatory death penalty, institute an official moratorium on executions and abolish the death penalty. [2] The next UPR is scheduled for January 2013. [3]

In November 2007, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights determined that the mandatory death penalty violates Article 4 of the American Convention on Human Rights, which protects against arbitrariness and limits the death penalty to the most serious crimes. Additionally, the IACHR determined that Article 2 of the Convention requires Barbados to amend its Constitution and laws to fulfill its treaty obligations under the Convention, and ordered Barbados to eliminate the mandatory death penalty from its laws. [4] In 2009, the IACHR reaffirmed this ruling and held that Barbados must make mental health evaluations available for capital defendants and allow expert mental health testimony at trial. [5]

Jurisprudence of the Caribbean Court of Justice in 2006 confirms that lengthy stays on death row constitute inhuman treatment, although the CCJ has held that individuals sentenced to death after 2003 cannot offer this argument due to a constitutional amendment. Jurisprudence of the IACHR in 2007, however, suggests that Barbados cannot rely on constitutional provisions to allow inhuman treatment in contravention of the American Convention on Human Rights.. [6]

References

[1] U.N. ICCPR, Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations: Barbados, paras. 7, 9, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/BRB/CO/3, May 11, 2007.
[2] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, para. 77, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/10/73, Jan. 9, 2009.
[3] UPR Database, Barbados, http://www.upr-info.org/-Barbados-.html, last accessed Jan. 14, 2013.
[4] 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).
[5] Cadogan v. Barbados, paras. 86-90, Ser. C No. 204, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Sep. 24, 2009.
[6] Attorney General v. Boyce, paras. 15, 47, 117, 126, 131, 138-139, Appeal No. CV 2 of 2005, Caribbean Court of Justice, Jun. 21, 2006.Boyce v. Barbados, paras. 62-64, 74, 80, Ser. C No. 169, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, Nov. 20, 2007.

Additional Sources and Contacts

Direct member(s) of World Coalition Against the Death Penalty

None.

Other non-governmental organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy surrounding the death penalty

Human Rights Today may have a presence in Barbados: http://humanrights.einnews.com/news/death-penalty/barbados.

The Barbados Association of Non-Government Organizations, http://www.bango.org.bb/, may be an initial contact point for discovering organizations and individuals engaged in advocacy in Barbados.

Helpful Reports and Publications

Amnesty Intl., Barbados: Death Penalty and Discrimination Against LGBT Still To Be Addressed, Amnesty International Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, AMR 15/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AMR15/001/2012/en/675b9473-9b2c-42ac-9e32-9fc8e0dc803a/amr150012012en.html, Jul. 1, 2012.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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