Death Penalty Database

Belize

Information current as of: January 6, 2014

General

Official Country Name

Geographical Region

Latin America (Central America). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. The last execution took place in 1985. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging.
Executions are carried out by hanging within the prison where the prisoner is confined. [4]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Belize Profile, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18724590, May 21, 2013.
[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., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012.
[4] Belize Indictable Procedure Act, s. 153, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 96, 1958, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.

Country Details

Language(s)

English. [1]

Population

324,000. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

0. [3]

In July 2015, the Supreme Court of Belize overturned the death sentence of the last remaining person on death row, finding that his sentence was as unconstitutional. [4]

No death sentences have been handed down since 2005. [5] Because Belize follows the Pratt & Morgan v. Jamaica ruling under its Supreme Court ruling in Mejia v. Attorney General [6] (under which death sentences are commuted to life imprisonment after five years on death row), all death sentences have been commuted to definite terms or life imprisonment in recent years. [7]

(This question was last updated on October 13, 2017.)

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on December 6, 2017)

0. [8]

Executions in 2016

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [13]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [14]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [15]

Executions in 2009

0. [16]

Executions in 2008

0. [17]

Executions in 2007

0. [18]

Year of Last Known Execution

1985. [19] The last execution in Belize took place in 1985 when one prisoner was executed for murder. [20]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Belize Profile, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18724590, May 21, 2013.
[2] BBC, Country Profiles: Belize Profile, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18724590, May 21, 2013.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[4] Death Penalty Project, Belize Reprieves Last Man on Death Row, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/news/2331/belize-reprieves-last-man-on-death-row-update/, Dec. 22, 2015. Death Penalty Project, Behind the Prison Gates: Findings and recommendations from a visit by Joseph Middleton to Belize Central Prison, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/14.11.18-DPP-Belize-Report-PRINT-version.pdf, Nov. 18, 2014.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2015, ACT 50/3487/2016, Apr. 6, 2016. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013. Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012.
[6] Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001. Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, pp. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993.
[7] Adele Ramos, 15 inmates escape death row – 9 freed from prison, Amandala, http://amandala.com.bz/news/15-inmates-escape-death-row-9-freed-prison, Jul. 17, 2015. Amandala Newspaper, No-one on death row in Belize, http://amandala.com.bz/news/?p=259932&upm_export=pdf, Apr. 12, 2011.
[8] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[9] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[10] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[14] 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.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[19] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012.
[20] Capital punishment in the British Commonwealth, Capital Punishment UK, http://www.capitalpunishmentuk.org/common.html, last accessed Sep. 19, 2013.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
The law defines “Class A murders” as murders committed in the course of or in furtherance of theft, murders by shooting or explosion, murder committed in the course of resisting arrest or escaping prison, murder of a police or prison officer, and any murder “related to illegal drugs or criminal gang activity.” [1] All murders, defined as intentionally causing the death of another person by unlawful harm, [2] are punishable by death. [3]

Murder.
Any murder which is not a Class A murder is defined as a Class B murder, and includes murder committed without aggravating circumstances. [4] All murders, defined as intentionally causing the death of another person by unlawful harm, [5] are punishable by death. [6] Where a member of the military commits the civil offense of murder outside Belize and is convicted by a court martial, he is liable to suffer death. [7]

Treason.
Where a member of the military commits the civil offense of treason outside Belize and is convicted by a court martial, he is liable to suffer death. [8] Members of the military may also be sentenced to death for a number of treasonous offenses committed while carrying out their military duties (see section on Military Offenses Not Involving Death).

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Under the Defence Act of 1978, a number of offenses applicable to members of the military, usually treasonous acts carried out for the benefit of an enemy, are punishable by death. Surrendering or abandoning a place to the enemy or failing to use one’s “utmost exertions” to carry out a superior’s order is punishable by death if these acts were done with the intent to assist the enemy. [9] Providing intelligence to the enemy, even under circumstances of captivity, and protecting an enemy are also punishable by death if there was an intent to assist the enemy. [10] Willfully imperiling or delaying a military action to benefit the enemy is also death-eligible. [11] Taking part in a mutiny, inciting another person in active service to mutiny, or failing to report the mutiny to benefit the enemy, are punishable by death. [12]

War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
A person who commits genocide, according to the definition of the Genocide Convention, is liable to suffer death if the offense consists in the killing of any person. [13]

Comments.
The distinction between Class A and Class B murders is no longer significant in relation to capital punishment, since all forms of murder are punishable by death. Prior to the Reyes ruling of 2002, however, Class A murders attracted the mandatory death penalty. In Reyes, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the final court of appeal for Belize) struck down the mandatory death penalty as an inhuman punishment. [14]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. In Reyes v. The Queen, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (“JCPC”) (at that time the highest court of appeal for Belize) struck down the mandatory death penalty as an inhuman punishment. [15]

By the end of our research, we were unable to confirm that the Criminal Code has been amended to reflect this jurisprudence. (The latest version of the Belize Criminal Code that we have been able to obtain was current to December 31, 2000, before Reyes was decided, and contains the mandatory language struck down in Reyes for Class A or aggravated murders). [16] However, we do know that courts in Belize do not apply the mandatory death penalty. In Pipersburgh v. The Queen, which post-dates Reyes, the trial court had allowed the defendants, who had been convicted of Class A murder, to show why they should not be executed, which suggests that Belize courts now consider mitigating factors to determine sentencing even for aggravated murders. The JCPC confirmed that this was an obligatory step in all capital cases. Furthermore, the JCPC ruled that after the defendant adduces evidence of mitigating circumstances, the burden shifts to the prosecution to rebut the presumption of the right to life. [17]

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

There is no mandatory death penalty in Belize (see question on mandatory death penalty above).

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

None. No executions have been carried out since 1985. [18]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
An individual who committed a death-eligible crime while under the age of 18 will be sentenced to life imprisonment instead of death. [19] This conforms with Belize’s international obligations as a party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [20] which provides that no child under the age of 18 shall be subject to capital punishment. [21]

Pregnant Women.
Pregnant women will be sentenced to life imprisonment with hard labor instead of death. [22]

Intellectually Disabled.
A defendant is deemed to have been “insane” and is exempt from criminal liability “if he was prevented by reason of idiocy, imbecility or any mental derangement or disease affecting the mind, from knowing the nature or consequences of the act in respect of which he is accused.” [23] The Criminal Code provides specifically for diminished responsibility in cases of murder. If a defendant who is party to a killing can show that he suffered from such “abnormality of mind” due to “arrested or retarded development or any inherent causes or caused by disease or injury,” as “substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts,” he cannot be sentenced to death for murder. [24] In other words, individuals with severe intellectual disabilities may be excused from criminal liability if their disabilities are proven to “cause” their criminal behavior. Where a direct causal relationship is not proven, however, we found no law that provides that such individuals shall not be sentenced to death.

Mentally Ill.
A defendant is deemed to have been “insane” and is exempt from criminal liability “if he was prevented by reason of idiocy, imbecility or any mental derangement or disease affecting the mind, from knowing the nature or consequences of the act in respect of which he is accused.” [25] A defendant is also deemed insane if he acted “under the influence of a delusion of such a nature as to render him, in the opinion of the jury, an unfit subject for punishment of any kind.” [26] The Criminal Code specifically provides for diminished responsibility in cases of murder. If a defendant who is party to a killing can show that he suffered from such “abnormality of mind” due to “arrested or retarded development or any inherent causes or caused by disease or injury,” as “substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts,” he cannot be sentenced to death for murder. [27] However, we found no law indicating that individuals who develop a severe mental illness after they are convicted and sentenced to death are ineligible for execution.

References

[1] Belize Criminal Code, ss. 108(3)(a-f), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[2] Belize Criminal Code, s. 117, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[3] Belize Criminal Code, s. 106(1), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[4] Belize Criminal Code, ss. 108(3), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[5] Belize Criminal Code, s. 117, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[6] Belize Criminal Code, s. 106(1), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[7] Belize Defence Act, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 135, art. 67(3)(a), Jan. 1, 1978, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[8] Belize Defence Act, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 135, art. 67(3)(a), Jan. 1, 1978, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[9] Belize Defence Act, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 135, arts. 30(1), 30(2)(a), 30(3)(a), Jan. 1, 1978, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[10] Belize Defence Act, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 135, art. 31, Jan. 1, 1978, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[11] Belize Defence Act, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 135, art. 32, Jan. 1, 1978, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[12] Belize Defence Act, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 135, arts. 36, 37, Jan. 1, 1978, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[13] Belize Genocide Act, ss. 2(1), 2(3)(a), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 110, Apr. 5, 1971, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[14] Reyes v. The Queen, para. 43, Appeal No. 64 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002.
[15] Reyes v. The Queen, para. 43, Appeal No. 64 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002.
[16] Belize Criminal Code, ss. 106(1), (3), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[17] Pipersburgh v. The Queen, para. 33, Appeal No. 96 of 2006, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 21, 2008.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012.
[19] Belize Indictable Procedure Act, s. 146(2), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000..
[20] U.N. Treaty Collection, Convention on the Rights of the Child, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en, Sep. 19, 2013.
[21] U.N., Convention on the Rights of the Child, art. 37(a), G.A. Res. 44/25, Nov. 20, 1989.
[22] Belize Indictable Procedure Act, s. 147(1), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[23] Belize Criminal Code, s. 26(a), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[24] Belize Criminal Code, s. 118, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[25] Belize Criminal Code, s. 26(a), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[26] Belize Criminal Code, s. 26(b), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[27] Belize Criminal Code, s. 118, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

June 10, 1996. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

No. [4]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [5]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

No. [6]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [7]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

No. [8]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [9]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

No. [10]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [11]

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

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [12]

Vote

Against. [13]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [14]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [15]

Vote

Against. [16]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [17]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [18]

Vote

Against. [19]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [20]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [21]

Vote

Against. [22]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [23]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [24]

Vote

Against. [25]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [26]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [27]

Vote

Against. [28]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [29]

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 Aug. 27, 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 Aug. 27, 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 Aug. 27, 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 Aug. 27, 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 Aug. 27, 2013.
[6] 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 Aug. 27, 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 Aug. 27, 2013.
[8] 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 Aug. 27, 2013.
[9] 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 Aug. 27, 2013.
[10] 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 Mar. 24, 2010.
[11] 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 Mar. 24, 2010.
[12] U.N.G.A., 71st 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. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[13] U.N.G.A., 71st 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. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[14] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[15] U.N.G.A., 69th 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. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[16] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[17] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[18] 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.
[19] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[20] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[21] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including 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.
[22] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[23] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[24] 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.
[25] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[26] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[27] 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, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[28] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[29] 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 3 guarantees the right to “life, liberty, security of the person, and the protection of the law.” [1] The right to life is limited by Article 4(1), which states that “a person shall not be deprived of his life intentionally save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offense.” [2] Article 7 provides that “No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.” [3]

Article 53(e) provides a distinctive procedure for capital cases to be referred to the Governor General for potential clemency. [4] Several articles prohibit those sentenced to death from holding political office as Senators or members of the House of Representatives. [5]

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

The Preamble to the Constitution requires policies that further international peace and establish a “just and equitable international economic and social order in the world with respect for international law and treaty obligations.” [6]

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

The most significant recent changes involve the extent of court discretion during sentencing when defendants face capital charges. In 2002, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled in Reyes v. The Queen that the mandatory death penalty is inhuman and thus unconstitutional in Belize and that courts must consider mitigating circumstances in all cases of murder. [7] In 2007, the JCPC held in Pipersburgh v. The Queen that Belize’s subsequent practice of placing the burden on defendants to prove why they should not be executed is inhuman and thus unconstitutional, and ruled that the prosecution must rebut any presumption of mitigating factors and show why the murder was the “most exceptional and extreme” sort. [8] These decisions limit the death penalty vastly from its ambit prior to 2002.

In 1993, the JCPC held in Pratt & Morgan v. The Queen (decided on appeal from Jamaica) that individuals held under sentence of death for 5 years or longer have presumptively been subjected to inhuman treatment and must have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment. [9] As indicated by the Belize Supreme Court in Mejia v. Attorney General in 2001, Belize courts follow this decision (although we have not found a Court of Appeal decision on the matter, this decision continues to be applied). [10] As pointed out by the Caribbean Court of Justice, the effect of Pratt has been to limit executions. [11]

Following a constitutional amendment, the Caribbean Court of Justice replaced the JCPC as the court of final appeal for Belize on June 1, 2010, [12] a move which one might think would impair the application of Reyes and Pratt and their progeny. However, in limiting application of Pratt in other jurisdictions, the CCJ has not questioned its legal validity (although it has indicated that it might allow more than 5 years for an appeals process prior to commuting death sentences)—rather, it has concentrated on constitutional limitations on human rights-based challenges to death sentences. [13] In Belize, a limited savings clause that would have prevented such challenges expired long ago in 1986, [14] and the 2009 Amendment to the Constitution explicitly enables fundamental rights-based challenges as of right to the CCJ. [15] Furthermore, the Belize Supreme Court has already adopted Pratt as constitutional principle and under its own doctrine of stare decisis cannot easily now depart from Pratt, so the CCJ may be unlikely to depart from the ruling. [16] Limitation of Reyes and Pipersburgh is similarly unlikely.

The government attempted to further facilitate application of the death penalty by submitting the Belize Constitution Eighth Amendment Act before Parliament in 2011. The amendment would have amended section 7 of the Constitution prohibiting torture and inhuman or degrading punishment or treatment, to allow a death sentence or execution by any means. The proposal was ultimately withdrawn following petitions to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights by the Death Penalty Project and the Human Rights Commission of Belize. [17]

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

No. While no executions have been carried out since 1985, Belize continues to support capital punishment. [18] Belize has voted against all four U.N. General Assembly resolutions for a global moratorium on executions, most recently in 2012. [19]

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

In Mejia v. Attorney General in 2001, the Belize Supreme Court adopted as a constitutional principle the holding of Pratt & Morgan v. The Queen, establishing the presumption that those held under sentence of death for 5 or more years have been subjected to inhuman treatment and must thus have their sentences commuted to life imprisonment (although we have not located a Court of Appeal decision on the matter, this principle continues to be applied). [20]

Other important cases were determined by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Commonwealth court of final appeal for Belize before June 1, 2010. In 2002, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council ruled in Reyes v. The Queen that the mandatory death penalty is inhuman and thus unconstitutional in Belize and that courts must consider mitigating circumstances in all cases of murder. [21] In 2007, the JCPC held in Pipersburgh v. The Queen that Belize’s subsequent practice of placing the burden on defendants to prove why they should not be executed is inhuman and thus unconstitutional, and ruled that the prosecution must rebut the presumption created by any mitigating factors to show why the murder was of the “most exceptional and extreme” sort. [22] Furthermore, the JCPC emphasized the importance of psychiatric evaluations for defendants in capital cases. [23]

While many commonwealth Caribbean countries use “savings clauses” to prevent constitutional review of existing laws and punishments, the limited savings clause in Belize’s Constitution expired in 1986. [24] Savings clauses in most commonwealth Caribbean countries preserve the authority of laws “obtained at the time of independence” or sometimes the penalties legally administered before independence. [25] Such clauses effectively bar all legal challenges to the death penalty.

On June 1, 2010, Belize replaced the JCPC with the Caribbean Court of Justice as the court of final appeal, [26] so future decisions related to the death penalty will emanate from the CCJ instead of the JCPC.

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

The website of the Judiciary of Belize provides access to selected Supreme Court criminal judgments since 1977 at http://www.belizejudiciary.org/web/judgements2. A comprehensive collection of Court of Appeal judgments on criminal appeals since 1977 are available on the same website at: http://www.belizejudiciary.org/web/judgements3. The Caribbean Court of Justice, the final court of appeal for Belize since June 2010, provides case summaries and judgments on its website at: http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/judgments-proceedings/appellate-jurisdiction-judgments. You can search the collection using keyword searches. Prior to May 31, 2010, the ultimate appellate court was the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. All of the Privy Council’s judgments issued after July 2009 can be found on its website at http://www.jcpc.gov.uk/decided-cases/index.html. Earlier Privy Council judgments can be found on BAILII at http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC. The Privy Council Papers website provides detailed case records for all appeals considered by the JCPC between 1792 and 1998: http://www.privycouncilpapers.org.

What is the clemency process?

Prior to the execution of any capital sentence, the Attorney General must obtain a written report from the judge that presided over the trial and obtain other necessary information for consideration by the Belize Advisory Council. [27] The Belize Advisory Council is formed of 7 people, 2 of whom represent the Prime Minister, and 2 of whom represent the leader of the opposition. The Advisory Council determines based on majority vote whether to advise the Governor-General to grant clemency, and the Governor General must act “in accordance with the advice of the Belize Advisory Council.” [28]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Until August 2011, all capital cases were tried by a judge and 12 jurors. [29] While juries determine guilt and the offense for which a defendant is convicted, a judge makes sentencing decisions after hearing juries’ recommendations. [30] Legislation passed in August 2011 stipulates that nonjury trials are mandatory for trials relating to murder, attempt to murder, abetment of murder, and conspiracy to commit murder. A single Supreme Court judge now hears these cases. [31]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

The Supreme Court of Belize, which has unlimited original jurisdiction to hear criminal proceedings, [32] issues a sentence, which the defendant can then appeal to the Belize Court of Appeal. [33] The Supreme Court sits four times a year in the exercise of its criminal jurisdiction. [34] Before June 1, 2010, the defendant could then file a leave to appeal with the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (the Commonwealth court of appeal). Since the 2009 amendment to the Belize Constitution, appeals from the Belize Court of Appeal filed on or after June 1, 2010 are heard by the Caribbean Court of Justice. Appeals are as-of-right when based on constitutionally protected fundamental rights. [35]

References

[1] Belize Constitution Act, art. 3(a), Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012.
[2] Belize Constitution Act, art. 4(1), Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012.
[3] Belize Constitution Act, art. 7, Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012.
[4] Belize Constitution Act, art. 53(e), Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012.
[5] Belize Constitution Act, arts. 58(1)(d), 59(3)(a), 63(1)(e), 64(3)(a), Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012.
[6] Belize Constitution Act, Preamble, Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012.
[7] Reyes v. The Queen, para. 43, Appeal No. 64 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002. This decision was affirmed in Pipersburgh v. The Queen, Appeal No. 96 of 2006, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 21, 2008.
[8] Pipersburgh v. The Queen, para. 33, Appeal No. 96 of 2006, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 21, 2008.
[9] Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, pp. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993.
[10] Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001. Adele Ramos, Kolbe Death Row Inmate, 26, Shot Dead—Two Cons Detained!, Amandala Newspaper, http://amandala.com.bz/news/kolbe-death-row-inmate-26-shot-dead-two-cons-detained, Nov. 2, 2007..
[11] Attorney General v. Boyce, paras. 49, 66, Appeal No. CV 2 of 2005, Caribbean Court of Justice, Jun. 21, 2006.
[12] Belize Constitution Act, art. 53(e), Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012. Belize Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 2009. Adele Ramos, Belize Senate Approves Caribbean Court of Justice, Amandala, http://www.amandala.com.bz/index.php?id=9589, Feb. 26, 2010.
[13] 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.
[14] Belize Constitution Act, art. 21, Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012. Roger Hood &Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 104, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008. Edward Fitzgerald QC, ALBA Seminar on the Privy Council: Death Penalty, pp. 5-6, http://adminlaw.org.uk/library/publications.php, Jun. 30, 2009.
[15] Belize Constitution Act, art. 104(1)(e), Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012. Belize Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 2009.
[16] Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 25, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 4, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012.
[19] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012. U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010. U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008. U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[20] Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001 (adopting Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, pp. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993). Adele Ramos, 1,420 Prisoners in 1,500-Max Kolbe, Amandala Newspaper, http://amandala.com.bz/news/1420-prisoners-in-1500-max-kolbe, Aug. 11, 2009. Amandala Newspaper, No-one on death row in Belize, http://amandala.com.bz/news/?p=259932&upm_export=pdf, Apr. 12, 2011.
[21] Reyes v. The Queen, para. 43, Appeal No. 64 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002. This decision was affirmed in Pipersburgh v. The Queen, Appeal No. 96 of 2006, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 21, 2008.
[22] Pipersburgh v. The Queen, para. 33, Appeal No. 96 of 2006, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 21, 2008..
[23] Pipersburgh v. The Queen, para. 33, Appeal No. 96 of 2006, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 21, 2008..
[24] Belize Constitution Act, art. 21, Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012. Roger Hood &Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 104, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008. Edward Fitzgerald QC, ALBA Seminar on the Privy Council: Death Penalty, pp. 5-6, http://adminlaw.org.uk/library/publications.php, Jun. 30, 2009.
[25] Edward Fitzgerald, Savings clauses and the colonial death penalty regime, pp. 119-121, Penal Reform International, http://www.penalreform.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/rep-2000-caribbean-human-rights-en_0.pdf, in Penal Reform Inernational, Commonwealth Caribbean Human Rights Seminar, Sep. 2000.
[26] Belize Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 2009. Adele Ramos, Belize Senate Approves Caribbean Court of Justice, Amandala Newspaper, http://amandala.com.bz/news/belize-senate-approves-caribbean-court-of-justice, Feb. 26, 2010.
[27] Belize Constitution Act, art. 53, Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012.
[28] Belize Constitution Act, arts. 52, 54, Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012.
[29] Belize Juries Act, s. 21(1), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 128, Jan. 9, 1971, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.. Belize Criminal Code, s. 106, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000. 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: Belize, para. 17, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/5/BLZ/1, Feb. 18, 2009.
[30] Belize Criminal Code, s. 106, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[31] U.S. State Dept., 2012 Human Rights Reports : Belize, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/wha/204428.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[32] 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: Belize, para. 17, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/5/BLZ/1, Feb. 18, 2009.
[33] Belize Court of Appeal Act, sec. 23, ch. 90, Dec. 31, 2000.
[34] 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: Belize, para. 17, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/5/BLZ/1, Feb. 18, 2009.
[35] Belize Constitution Act, art. 104910(e), Sep. 21, 1981, as in force on Mar. 1, 2012. Belize Constitution (Seventh Amendment) Act, 2009. Adele Ramos, Belize Senate Approves Caribbean Court of Justice, Amandala, http://www.amandala.com.bz/index.php?id=9589, Feb. 26, 2010

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

All prisoners and detainees are held in the country’s one prison, the Belize Central Prison which is located in Hattieville in the outskirts of Belize City. [1] Belize’s prison system is run by the Kolbe Foundation, a private non-profit organization founded by Rotary Club members in 2002 to reform the penitentiary system with a focus on humane facilities and rehabilitation. [2] We found no information on whether death-sentenced inmates would be held separately from other prisoners. However, when maximum security prisoners are held in the remand section of the prison due to lack of space, they are usually held in individual cells. [3]

Description of Prison Conditions

Belize’s one prison, the Belize Central Prison, is run by the Kolbe Foundation, a private non-profit organization founded by Rotary Club members in 2002 to reform the penitentiary system with a focus on humane facilities and rehabilitation. [4] The government retains oversight and monitoring responsibility. [5] Prison conditions have improved significantly since the Kolbe Foundation assumed responsibility for prison operations. The Foundation initiated rehabilitation and education programs and overhauled staff training to improve security, improve inmate treatment and end corruption. While the prison used to suffer from overcrowding and prison guard brutality, [6] there have been no recent reports of abuse or excessive use of force, and the total prison population is now below the institution’s capacity. [7] The normal prison population is housed in cells that accommodate 4 to 6 people. Pre-trial detainees and convicted prisoners, juveniles and adults, and men and women are held in separate facilities. Maximum-security prisoners also seem to be held apart from the general prison population; when they are housed in the remand section, they are held in individual cells. Inmates have access to potable water, daily visits and on-site medical care, and religious observance is permitted. Inmates can lodge complaints with the Ombudsman’s office, reportedly without censorship. Conditions in the women’s section are much better than in the rest of the prison. Nevertheless, the prison reportedly fails to meet all international standards. [8] Furthermore, the Belize Public Health Authorities released a report, highlighting unsanitary kitchen facilities and female holding cells. Prison authorities promised to take corrective action. [9] We found no specific information on the prison conditions of death-sentenced prisoners.

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

We found no reports of foreign nationals known to be under the sentence of death. [10] Additionally, we believe that no one is currently held under sentence of death. [11]

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

We found no reports of foreign nationals known to be under the sentence of death. [12] Additionally, we believe that no one is currently held under sentence of death. [13]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

The only woman to have been sentenced to death in Belize was Nora Parham, who was executed in 1963. [14] Additionally, we believe that no one is currently held under sentence of death. [15]

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?

We found no reports of juveniles under sentence of death, and we believe that no one is currently held under sentence of death. [16] However, according to local media reports, at least one prisoner, Gilroy Wade, was sentenced to death when he was 17 years old, [17] despite Belize’s legal exclusion of such individuals from execution. [18] His death sentence was later commuted by the Privy Council. [19] Amnesty International notes that no juveniles have been executed in Belize since it started keeping records in 1990. [20]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

We believe that no one is currently held under sentence of death. [21] Our research did not uncover any information about the composition of death row in recent years.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Yes. The law requires that an indigent person charged with a capital offense be assigned counsel by the court under the legal aid scheme. [22] The legal aid system is crippled by insufficient resources, though it seems that those most affected by the lack of funding are indigent people charged with serious non-capital offenses. [23]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

Yes. A Court may appoint counsel to indigent death-sentenced appellants. [24]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Many cases are thrown out or commuted because of trial errors. [25]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

References

[1] Kolbe Foundation, Location, http://kolbe.bz/about-kolbe/location, last accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
[2] Kolbe Foundation, History and Vision, http://kolbe.bz/about-kolbe/history-and-vision, last accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Belize, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/wha/204428.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[4] Kolbe Foundation, History and Vision, http://kolbe.bz/about-kolbe/history-and-vision, last accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Belize, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/wha/204428.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Belize, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136101.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[7] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Belize, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/wha/204428.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2012 Human Rights Report: Belize, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2012/wha/204428.htm, Apr. 19, 2013.
[9] Adele Ramos, Kobe Prison Health Situation Horrible, Amandala Newspaper, July 19, 2013.
[10] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, Jan. 19, 2013.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012. Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, pp. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993. Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001.
[12] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, Jan. 19, 2013.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012. Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, pp. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993. Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001.
[14] Adele Ramos, Nora Parham’s Relatives Want More Answers, Amandala Newspaper, http://amandala.com.bz/news/nora-parhams-relatives-want-more-answers/, Sep. 4, 2009.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012. Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, pp. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993. Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012. Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, pp. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993. Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001.
[17] Adele Ramos, Kolbe Death Row Inmate, 26, Shot Dead—Two Cons Detained!, Amandala Newspaper, http://amandala.com.bz/news/kolbe-death-row-inmate-26-shot-dead-two-cons-detained, Nov. 2, 2007.
[18] Belize Indictable Procedure Act, s. 146(2), Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 101, Oct. 1, 1981, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[19] Adele Ramos, Kolbe Death Row Inmate, 26, Shot Dead—Two Cons Detained!, Amandala Newspaper, http://amandala.com.bz/news/kolbe-death-row-inmate-26-shot-dead-two-cons-detained, Nov. 2, 2007. We were unable to locate the Privy Council decisions relating to Gilroy Wade.
[20] Amnesty Intl., Execution of Juveniles Since 1990, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/executions-of-child-offenders-since-1990, last accessed Oct. 3, 2013.
[21] Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, p. 7, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012. Pratt and Morgan v. Attorney General of Jamaica, pp. 26-27, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993. Mejia v. Attorney General, Action No. 296 of 2000, Supreme Court of Belize, Jun. 11, 2001.
[22] Belize Indictable Procedure Act, s. 194, Revised Laws of Belize 2000 Ch. 96, 1958, as updated through to Dec. 31, 2000.
[23] Belize Attorney General’s Ministry, Belize: Consultation Paper on Criminal Justice Reform, pp. 3-4, http://www.belizelaw.org/web/e_library/WPOCJ_REFORM.pdf, Aug. 5, 2005.
[24] Court of Appeal Act of Belize, sec. 39, ch. 90, Dec. 31, 2000.
[25] 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

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

Although the ICCPR came into force in September 1996, Belize has never submitted a national report concerning its human rights record, as required under article 40 of the Covenant. The Human Rights Committee nevertheless examined the human rights situation in Belize in the absence of a national report at its 2960th meeting on March 15, 2013. At the time of research, the Committee had not yet published its final conclusions on its review, but the advance version of its report did not contain any discussion of the death penalty. [1] The advance version of the report did inquire into the operation of the Kolbe Foundation, a private foundation that runs Belize’s prison. [2]

Because Belize is not a party to the Optional Protocol, [3] the Human Rights Committee does not issue decisions on petitions by individuals.

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

Belize was reviewed by the Human Rights Council at the 17th session of the Universal Periodic Review working group on October 28, 2013. At the time of research, the Human Rights Council had not released a concluding report. However, Belize was recommended to abolish the death penalty during the review. [4] At its Universal Periodic Review before the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2009, Belize received a recommendation to abolish the death penalty in its legislation. [5] Belize declined this recommendation, stating that “the complete abolition of capital punishment in its internal legislation requires extensive national consultations given the nature of the issues involved,” and adding that the government did not have “a mandate” to effect these changes. [6] Belize also refused to adhere to the protocols of the ICCPR because it retained the death penalty in its constitution. [7]

References

[1] ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Belize in the absence of a report: Advance unedited version, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/BLZ/CO/1, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/BZIndex.aspx, 2013.
[2] ICCPR Human Rights Committee, Concluding Observations on Belize in the absence of a report: Advance unedited version, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/BLZ/CO/1, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/BZIndex.aspx, 2013.
[3] 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 Aug. 23, 2013.
[4] Universal Periodic Review Media Brief –Belize, UN Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/UPR/Pages/Highlights28October2013pm.aspx, last accessed Dec. 12, 2013.
[5] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Belize, para. 68(1), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/4, Jun. 4, 2009.
[6] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Belize: Addendum, para. 6, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/4/Add.1, Sep. 18, 2009.
[7] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Belize: Addendum, para. 3, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/12/4/Add.1, Sep. 18, 2009.

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

None.

Helpful Reports and Publications

Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty in the English-Speaking Caribbean: A Human Rights Issue, Index: AMR/05/001/2012, Nov. 30, 2012.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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