Death Penalty Worldwide

Cuba

Last updated on August 23, 2010

General

Official Country Name

Republic of Cuba (Cuba). [1]

Geographical Region

Latin America (Caribbean). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. The last execution in Cuba took place in 2003. [3]

Methods of Execution

Shooting.
(Firing Squad). [4]

References

[1] U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Cuba, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2886.htm, Mar. 25, 2010.
[2] World Macro Regions and Components, U.N., 2000, http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/maplib/worldregions.htm.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 2010.
[4] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 29(3), 1988.

Country Details

Language(s)

Spanish. [1]

Population

11,200,000. 11,200,000 [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

0. On December 28, 2010, Cuba’s Supreme Court commuted the death sentence of Cuba’s last remaining death row inmate, a Cuban-American convicted of a murder carried out during a 1994 terrorist invasion of the island. [3]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2014 to date (last updated on October 20, 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

2003. [12]

References

[1] U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Cuba, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2886.htm, Mar. 25, 2010.
[2] U.S. Department of State, Background Note: Cuba, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2886.htm, Mar. 25, 2010.
[3] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[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, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 2010.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 2009.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 2008.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions 2009, p. 15, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 2010.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Premeditated murder, murder for pecuniary gain, involving cruelty or a helpless victim, aggravated by abduction, in the course or furtherance of rape, molestation or another offense, of an official performing state duties, of a relative or spouse, endangering multiple lives, or planned at length is punishable by death. [1]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Acts to sabotage or impair social, economic or military resources, resulting in death, are punishable by death. [2]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Acts to sabotage or impair social, economic or military resources, when using dangerous methods or agents, causing serious injury to health or property or threatening public security are punishable by death. [3] Aiding such acts or possessing the means of aiding such acts, when aimed at threatening the security of the state, is punishable by death.

Rape Not Resulting in Death.
Rape resulting in serious injury, by an offender previously convicted of the same crime or by an offender who knows that s/he suffers from a sexually transmitted disease is punishable by death. [4] Rape (including statutory rape) of a child under the age of 12 is punishable by death. [5]

Robbery Not Resulting in Death.
If the robbery is at gunpoint or under the threat of injury by a fire arm, if a person is deprived of his or her liberty during the course of the robbery, if the robbery results in serious injury, or if the robber is a person in a position of authority or is a person responsible for security and protection, robbery is punishable by death. [6]

Drug Trafficking Not Resulting in Death.
If those trafficking, producing or transporting the drugs are public agents or utilize state resources to traffic drugs, if they utilize individuals under the age of 16, or if they are part of an international drug trafficking ring, drug trafficking is punishable by death. [7]

Treason.
Insurrection or usurpation, bringing about hostile relations between Cuba and another country, [8] aiding the enemy, inciting war against Cuba, taking up arms against Cuba, attempting by force of arms to change the constitution or the form of government, entering the country illegally with the intent of committing any act of treason or any other act aimed at harming the independence of the Cuban state ( including threatening the life, liberty, or personal integrity of a state, government, or communist party official) [9] is punishable by death. Treason may be a more expansive offense in Cuba than is common among nations: acts of “sedition” such as disrupting the socialist order, interfering with elections and refusing to obey civil or military authorities are punishable by death. [10]

Espionage. [11]

War crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide.
Genocide: Taking measures to reduce the birthrate of a targeted ethnic group, acts of ethnic cleansing, the forced removal of children, or bombing defenseless civil populations in violation of international norms is punishable by death.

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
-Working as a Mercenary. [12]
-Piracy. [13]
-Apartheid.
Taking steps to maintain the dominance of one racial group over another through acts such as forced labor, torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading acts, segregation, or creating obstacles to full political, civil and cultural participation. [14]
-Pedophilia.
If the victim is less than 14 years of age, if the offender has been previously convicted of the same crime, or if the offense results in serious injury or illness. [15]
-Corruption of Minors.
Introducing a minor into prostitution, homosexuality, or criminal behavior, where the corruption of the minor is brought about by violence or intimidation, where the minor is physically harmed or contracts an illness, where more than one minor is endangered, where the offender has care or guardianship of the minor, where more than one person is involved or where the minor is under 12, mentally ill or incapacitated or incapable of resisting is punishable by death. [16]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. Law No. 87 of 1999 states that a person may be sentenced to life imprisonment instead of death for any of the death-eligible crimes in the penal code. [17]

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

There is no mandatory death penalty in Cuba.

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

None. [18]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
Individuals in Cuba cannot be executed for offenses committed while under the age of 20. [19]

Pregnant Women.
Women who are pregnant at the time of sentencing cannot be sentenced to death. [20]

Mentally Retarded. [21]
Individuals are exempt from criminal liability or face diminished liability at sentencing if mental retardation substantially or completely impairs their ability to appreciate the consequences of their actions or to control their actions.

Mentally Ill. [22]
Individuals are exempt from criminal liability or face diminished liability at sentencing if mental disorder or insanity substantially or completely impairs their ability to appreciate the consequences of their actions or to control their actions.

References

[1] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 263, 1988; Law No. 62, Penal Code, article 264, 1988; Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 263(f),(j), 1988.
[2] Law No. 62, Penal Code, arts. 104, 105, 1988.
[3] Cuba Penal Code, arts. 104, 105, 106, 108, Law No. 62, 1988.
[4] Law No. 87, art. 298(3), 1999.
[5] Law No. 87, art. 298(4), 1999.
[6] Law No. 87, art. 327, 1999.
[7] Law No. 87, art. 190, 1999.
[8] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 102, 110(2), 1988.
[9] Law No. 62, Penal Code, arts. 91-94; 98(1); 107(1); 124 (1988).
[10] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 100(a), 1988.
[11] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 97 (1, 2), 1988.
[12] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 118(1), 1988.
[13] Law No. 62, Penal Code, arts. 117, 118, 1988.
[14] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 120, 1988.
[15] Law No. 87, art. 299, 1999.
[16] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 310, amended by Law No. 87, art. 310, 1999.
[17] Law No. 87, art. 30, 1999.
[18] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions 2009, p. 15, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 2010.
[19] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 29(2), 1988.
[20] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 29(2), 1988.
[21] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 20, 1988.
[22] Law No. 62, Penal Code, art. 20(1), 1988.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

No. [1]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [2]

Date of Signature

February 28, 2008. [3]

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] However, in 2009 the Organization of American States lifted a 47-year suspension of Cuba from the OA, [9] which may encourage Cuba to become a party.

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [10]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

No. [11]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [12]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Date of Accession

Signed?

Date of Signature

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Date of Accession

Signed?

Date of Signature

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Date of Accession

Signed?

Date of Signature

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Date of Accession

Signed?

Date of Signature

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [13]

Vote

Abstained. [14]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [15]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [16]

Vote

Abstained. [17]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [18]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [19]

Vote

Abstained. [20]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [21]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

Abstained. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [24]

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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[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 Mar. 24, 2010.
[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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[9] Mary Beth Sheridan, Organization of American States Lifts Cuba’s Suspension, With Provisos, Washington Post, http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/03/AR2009060300359.html, Jun. 4, 2009.
[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 Jul. 20, 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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[12] 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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[13] 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.
[14] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[15] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[16] 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.
[17] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[18] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[19] 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.
[20] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[21] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[22] 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.
[23] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[24] 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?

The Constitution does not explicitly address capital punishment or the right to life. However, the Constitution does require that the state guarantee the “full dignity of man” and the “inviolability of persons,” including prisoners. These guarantees could be interpreted to limit the constitutionality of any death penalty. [1]

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

Cuba’s constitution makes reference to an international relations policy grounded in respect and the principles of the United Nations Charter and other international treaties, so international law could plausibly impact human rights protections in Cuba. [2]

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

Cuba has refrained from carrying out executions since 2003. [3] Furthermore, in 2008 President Raul Castro commuted most of the outstanding death sentences to sentences ranging from 30 years imprisonment to life in prison. [4] Three prisoners remained on death row—two for killing an Italian tourist in a hotel bombing and one for committing murder while attempting an terrorist infiltration of Cuba. [5] By December 28, 2010, those death sentences had also been commuted. [6]

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

No. While there has been a de facto moratorium since 2003, President Raul Castro cites Cuba’s tumultuous relationship with the United States and the constant threat of terrorist acts as the primary obstacles to an official moratorium or abolition. [7] The U.N. Human Rights Council has urged Cuba to maintain this and move toward abolition. [8]

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

As of July 29, 2010 we did not locate any significant published decisions of national courts concerning the death penalty in Cuba. [9] However, by December 28, 2010 Cuba’s Supreme Court commuted the final remaining death sentence. [10]

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

Bulletins of the People’s Supreme Court of Cuba—including its major sentences and decisions—can be found on its website at http://www.tsp.cu/Archivos/Boletines_del_Tribunal_Supremo.asp. However, the website currently hosts bulletins only from 1997 through 2002.

What is the clemency process?

In death penalty cases, once a death sentence has been appealed to the People’s Supreme Court, the decisions of the People’s Supreme Court may then be brought before the Council of State for a final review and decision. [11]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Unclear. [12] Civilian courts use a panel of certified and lay judges. Lay judges need not possess extensive educational qualifications, and although they receive official training and serve 5-year terms, lay judges serve for only about one month per year. Lay judges are elected by legislative assemblies, and most belong to the Communist Party. Under such circumstances, lay judges may add a popular element to adjudication, but may also diminish the political independence of the criminal justice system. [13] Defendants may also be tried before military tribunals. [14]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Decisions of the People’s Provincial Courts and Territorial Military Tribunals are appealed to the People’s Supreme Court. [15]

References

[1] The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, arts. 9(a), 58, 1992.
[2] For example, The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, art 12, 1992.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions 2009, p. 15, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 2010.
[4] Marc Frank, Most Cuba Prisoners on Death Row have Sentences Commuted, Havana Journal, http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/most-cuba-prisoners-on-death-row-have-sentences-commuted/, Apr. 29, 2008.
[5] Marc Frank, Most Cuba Prisoners on Death Row have Sentences Commuted, Havana Journal, http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/most-cuba-prisoners-on-death-row-have-sentences-commuted/, Apr. 29, 2008.
[6] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[7] Patricia Grogg, Death Penalty—Cuba: Dissidents, Preachers Welcome Decision, Inter Press Service News Agency, http://www.fadp.org/news/2008050701/, Apr. 29, 2008.
[8] U.N. Human Rights Council, Situation of Human Rights in Cuba, A/HRC/4/12 para. 35, Jan. 26, 2007, available at http://www.universalhumanrightsindex.org/documents/861/1046/document/en/pdf/text.pdf.
[9] See, e.g., Patricia Grogg, Death Penalty-Cuba: Sentences Commuted But Treatment Still Harsh, Inter Press Service News Agency, http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43533, Aug. 12, 2008.
[10] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[11] Agencia Cubana de Noticias, Principles of the Cuban State, Judicial System, http://www.ain.cu/elecciones2007/principios_del_estado_cubano.htm#Sistema%20Judicial, last accessed Jul. 22, 2010; The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, art 90(n), 1992.
[12] U.S. Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Cuba, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136108.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[13] El sistema Judicial y Legal de la República de Cuba, http://www.cubagob.cu/des_soc/derecho.htm, last accessed Mar. 9, 2011; Cuba MinRex, Derechos Humanos, http://www.cubaminrex.cu/derechos%20humanos/articulos/consejoderechoshumanos/Informe/Espannol/Sist_Juridico.html, last accessed Mar. 9, 2011; James H. Manahan, Improvements in the Cuban Legal, p. 277 System, http://web.gc.cuny.edu/dept/bildn/publications/documents/Manahan18.pdf., last accessed Mar. 9, 2011; Valeria Imhof, Los jueces legos y el sistema de justicia, El Nuevo Diario, http://archivo.elnuevodiario.com.ni/2003/octubre/19-octubre-2003/nacional/nacional13.html, Oct. 19, 2003.
[14] U.S. Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Cuba, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136108.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[15] Tribunal Supremo Popular, People’s Supreme Court of Cuba: Brief historical background, http://www.tsp.cu/Archivos/Reseña_Historica.asp, last accessed Jul. 22, 2010.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

By December 28, 2010, death row was emptied by commutation. [1] Two Salvadorans on death row in Cuba were, shortly beforehand, being held at Guanajay prison. [2] Prior to the 2008 commutations of the majority of death sentences in Cuba, prisoners sentenced to death were generally kept in solitary confinement within maximum security prisons. [3]

Description of Prison Conditions

No one is on death row. [4] Cuba does not allow International Red Cross, Human Rights Watch, or U.N. monitors in to observe its prison conditions, nor has it submitted the required reports to the U.N. regarding its prison conditions. [5] Reports indicate that, in general, prisoners reported extended isolation, denial of rights to visit family, denial of health care, insufficient food and water, unhygienic conditions, beatings, and torture. [6] Some death row prisoners may still be in isolation, even if their sentence has been commuted to life. [7]

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

All death sentences were commuted by December 28, 2010. [8]

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

All death sentences were commuted by December 28, 2010. [9]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

All death sentences were commuted by December 28, 2010. [10]

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?

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

All death sentences were commuted by December 28, 2010. [11]

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

A defendant has the right to hire an attorney at any time, and is provided with a public defender once formal charges are filed. [12]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

It is unclear whether the public defenders available to defendants at the trial level are also available upon appeal. However, the Cuban Constitution provides that “every accused person has the right to a defense.” [13]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

Human Rights Watch notes that lawyers may lack access to their clients, particularly those who are political detainees, which can affect their ability to provide an adequate legal defense, and that the use of torture during investigatory and pre-trial detention undermines the legitimacy of confessions and convictions based on them. [14] . Additionally, lawyers may be discouraged from representing political detainees or may not attempt to prepare adequate defenses for political detainees. [15] However, we have not determined that, as a practical matter, political detainees face capital punishment in recent years.

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Prosecutors in Cuba have the right, in exceptional circumstances, to request summary trials. These trials give defense attorneys minimal time to prepare for trial. [16] Summary proceedings are provided for under Cuba’s Law of Criminal Procedure. [17]

References

[1] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[2] Jim DeFede, Cuban Hotel Bomber Interviewed in Prison, Havana Journal, http://havanajournal.com/politics/entry/cuban_hotel_bomber_interviewed_in_prison/, Aug. 06, 2005.
[3] Social Democratic Party of Cuba, Special Report on the Death Penalty: Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, http://pscuba.org/derechoshumanos/informespecialpenademuerte.htm, Nov. 02, 2004.
[4] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[5] UN Human Rights Council, Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, “Compilation Prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights [on Government of Cuba],” A/HRC/WG.6/4/CUB/2, December 18, 2008.
[6] Human Rights Watch, New Castro, Same Cuba, VII (Nov. 2009), available at http://www.hrw.org/en/node/86549/section/8; U.S. Department of State, Human Rights Report 2009: Cuba, (Mar. 2010), http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136108.htm (last visited June 11, 2010).
[7] Patricia Grogg, Death Penalty-Cuba: Sentences Commuted But Treatment Still Harsh, Inter Press Service, Aug. 12, 2008, http://www.ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=43533
[8] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[9] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[10] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[11] Andrea Rodriguez, Cuba Commutes Death Sentence Against U.S. Man, Associated Press, http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101229/ap_on_re_la_am_ca/cb_cuba_death_sentence, Dec. 28, 2010.
[12] U.S. Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Cuba, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136108.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[13] The Constitution of the Republic of Cuba, ch. 7, art. 59, 1992.
[14] Human Rights Watch, New Castro, Same Cuba: Political Prisoners in the Post-Fidel Era, p. 58-59, 1-56432-562-8, Nov. 2009.
[15] Human Rights Watch, New Castro, Same Cuba: Political Prisoners in the Post-Fidel Era, p. 58-59, 1-56432-562-8, Nov. 2009.
[16] U.S. Department of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Cuba, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136108.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[17] Law No. 5, Law of Criminal Procedure, arts. 479, 480, 1977.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

Because Cuba is not a party to the ICCPR [1] or the Optional Protocol, the Human Rights Committee does not issue any observations or decisions about Cuba. [2]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

The Human Rights Council Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review for Cuba issued its report on March 3, 2009. During the UPR process, three different nations issued recommendations to Cuba related to the death penalty. Brazil recommended that Cuba maintain its efforts to promote a moratorium on the death penalty. [3] Switzerland recommended that Cuba abolish the death penalty entirely. [4] Italy recommended that Cuba further reduce the number of death eligible crimes with a view toward eventually abolishing the death penalty. [5] Cuba supported the recommendation of Brazil. [6] Cuba stated that it would respond to the recommendations of Italy and Switzerland in due time. [7]

In its 2004 Annual Report, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights expressed concern over the summary trials, death sentences, and executions of three prisoners in 2003, and suggested that these executions may have violated due process rights. [8]

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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[2] 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 Jul. 20, 2010.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (Cuba), p. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/11/22, Mar. 3, 2009.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (Cuba), p. 16, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/11/22, Mar. 3, 2009.
[5] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (Cuba), p. 21, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/11/22, Mar. 3, 2009.
[6] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (Cuba), p. 27, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/11/22, Mar. 3, 2009.
[7] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review (Cuba), p. 30, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/11/22, Mar. 3, 2009.
[8] Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, 2004 Annual Report, sec. 92, OEA/Ser.L/V/II.122, Feb. 23, 2005.

Additional Sources and Contacts

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

Comisión Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconciliación Nacional (CCDHRN)
Mr. Elizardo Sánchez
Presidente del Consejo Ejecutivo
Avenida 21 # 3014 entre 30 y 34, Playa
11300
La Habana 13 Cuba
Tel: +53 7 2038584 /+53 5 245 8060
elizardosanchez4@gmail.com

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

None.

Helpful Reports and Publications

Human Rights Watch’s report “New Castro, Same Cuba: Political Prisoners in the Post-Fidel Era” is helpful for its information on legal processes and prison conditions. The report was published on November 18, 2009, and is available at http://www.hrw.org/en/reports/2009/11/18/new-castro-same-cuba-0.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

Search Tips   |    Research Methodology   |    Glossary   |    Search