Death Penalty Database

Dominica

Information current as of: August 24, 2010

General

Official Country Name

Commonwealth of Dominica (Dominica). [1]

Geographical Region

Latin America (Caribbean). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Dominica, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2295.htm, Jul. 23, 2010.
[2] U.N., World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] Thomson Fontaine, A Call to Remove the Death Penalty in Dominica, TheDominican.net, http://thedominican.net/2009/02/call-to-remove-death-penalty-in.html, Feb. 18, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[4] Dominica Treason Act No. 2 of 1984, art. 2, Laws of Dominica Ch. 10:01, L.R.O. 1991.

Country Details

Language(s)

English. [1]

Population

72,000. 72,000. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

0. No one is under sentence of death. [3]

(This question was updated on October 9, 2015.)

Annual Number of Reported Executions

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

0. [4]

Executions in 2016

0. [5]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [6]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [11]

Executions in 2009

0. [12]

Executions in 2008

0. [13]

Executions in 2007

0. [14]

Year of Last Known Execution

1986. [15]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Dominica, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2295.htm, Jul. 23, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Dominica, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2295.htm, Jul. 23, 2010.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[4] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[5] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[6] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[10] 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.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[15] Thomson Fontaine, A Call to Remove the Death Penalty in Dominica, TheDominican.net, http://thedominican.net/2009/02/call-to-remove-death-penalty-in.html, Feb. 18, 2009.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder. [1]
The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council has held that the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s decision in Spence and Hughes v. Queen applies to Dominica; therefore, the death penalty is limited to exceptional cases for offenses against persons. [2]

Treason. [3]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. While Dominica has not amended its laws to expunge language mandating the death penalty for murder and treason, [4] we believe that the mandatory death penalty cannot be applied in Dominica. Challenges based on the Article 2 right to life and the Article 5 prohibition against inhuman treatment cannot be the subject of derogation or savings under the Dominican Constitution, and the High Court division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over such issues, with appeal to the Court of Appeal division and ultimately to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. [5]

In 2005, the JCPC ruled in Balson v. The State that the mandatory death penalty amounts to inhuman treatment and is thus unconstitutional in Dominica, observing that any barrier to constitutional challenge was identical to those addressed in its decision in The Queen v. Hughes regarding the mandatory death penalty in Saint Lucia. [6] The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has consistently applied its and the JCPC’s decisions in Hughes to limit application of the death penalty to “exceptional cases where there is no reasonable prospect of reform and the object of punishment would not be achieved by any other means,” [7] in other words, where a murder is the “worst of the worst.” [8]

It is unlikely that the mandatory death penalty could be applied for any crime in Dominica.

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

The mandatory death penalty has been found unconstitutional in Dominica. [9]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

None. [10]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime. [11]
Individuals below the age of 18 at the time of committing a capital offense are held indefinitely by the State, but cannot be executed. Dominica has ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18. [12]

Pregnant Women. [13]
Pregnant women face a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Dominica has ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits the execution of pregnant women. [14]

Mentally Ill. [15]
While we did not find a statutory exception, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court’s jurisprudence requires a consideration of mental state or defect for determining guilt and for determining the appropriate sentence.

Elderly.
Dominica has ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits execution of the elderly. [16]

References

[1] Dominica Offences Against the Person Act No. 7 of 1873, art. 2, Laws of Dominica Ch. 10:31, L.R.O. 1995.
[2] Balson v. State, paras. 40-46, Appeal No. 26 of 2004, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 2, 2005; Queen v. Hughes, Appeal No. 91 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002; upholding Spence & Hughes v. Queen, Criminal Appeals No. 20 of 1998 & No. 14 of 1997, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Apr. 2, 2001.
[3] Dominica Treason Act No. 2 of 1984, art. 2, Laws of Dominica Ch. 10:01, L.R.O. 1991.
[4] Dominica Offences Against the Person Act No. 7 of 1873, art. 2, Laws of Dominica Ch. 10:31, L.R.O. 1995.
[5] Dominica Treason Act No. 2 of 1984, Laws of Dominica Ch. 10:01, L.R.O. 1991.
[6] Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica Order Act No. 1027 of 1978, arts. 2, 5, 16, 17, 104-106, schedule 2, amended by Act No. 22 of 1984; Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Order No. 10 of 1969, Laws of Dominica Ch. 4:02, L.R.O. 1991.
[7] Balson v. State, paras. 40-46, Appeal No. 26 of 2004, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 2, 2005; Queen v. Hughes, para. 27, 38-53, Appeal No. 91 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002; Spence & Hughes v. Queen, Criminal Appeals No. 20 of 1998 & No. 14 of 1997, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Apr. 2, 2001.
[8] Wilson v. Queen, para. 17, Criminal Appeal No. 30 of 2004, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Nov. 28, 2005.
[9] Trimmingham v. Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 32 of 2004, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Oct. 13, 2005 (a cutlass slaying for financial gain was deemed an exceptional offense where only the death penalty would suffice); overturned by Trimmingham v. Queen, para. 21, 23, Appeal No. 67 of 2007, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Jun. 22, 2009 (finding that the murder was not the “sadistic” sort that could merit the death penalty). The JCPC, as this illustrates, might come to a different factual conclusion in reinforcing the applicable standard—but the ECSC recognizes the same standard, as a review of that court’s analysis will demonstrate.
[10] Balson v. State, paras. 40-46, Appeal No. 26 of 2004, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 2, 2005; Queen v. Hughes, Appeal No. 91 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002; Spence & Hughes v. Queen, Criminal Appeals No. 20 of 1998 & No. 14 of 1997, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Apr. 2, 2001.
[11] Thomson Fontaine, A Call to Remove the Death Penalty in Dominica, TheDominican.net, http://thedominican.net/2009/02/call-to-remove-death-penalty-in.html, Feb. 18, 2009.
[12] Laws of Dominica, Offences Against the Person Act No. 7 of 1873, art. (3)(1)(b), Laws of Dominica Ch. 10:31, L.R.O. 1995.
[13] 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. 8, 2010.
[14] Laws of Dominica, Offences Against the Person Act No. 7 of 1873, art. (3)(1)(c), Laws of Dominica Ch. 10:31, L.R.O. 1995.
[15] 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. 8, 2010.
[16] Moise v. Queen, para. 37-39, Criminal Appeal No. 8 of 2003, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Jul. 15, 2005 (ruling for St. Lucia, a closely related jurisdiction that would apply common rules for mens rea and for determining culpability).
[17] 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. 8, 2010.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Jun. 17, 1993. [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?

Yes. [8]

Date of Accession

Jun. 3, 1993. [9]

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?

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. [13]

Vote

Against. [14]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [15]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [16]

Vote

Against. [17]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [18]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [19]

Vote

Against. [20]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [21]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [22]

Vote

Abstained. [23]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [24]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [25]

Vote

Against. [26]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [27]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [28]

Vote

Against. [29]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [30]

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 Jun. 4, 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 Jun. 4, 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 Jun. 4, 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 Jun. 4, 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 Jun. 4, 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 Jun. 4, 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 Jun. 4, 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. 8, 2010.
[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 Jul. 8, 2010.
[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. 8, 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. 8, 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. 8, 2010.
[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, 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.
[15] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[16] 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.
[17] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[18] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[19] 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.
[20] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[21] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[22] 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.
[23] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[24] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[25] 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.
[26] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[27] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[28] 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.
[29] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[30] 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 provides that no one shall be deprived of life intentionally “save in execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the law of Dominica of which he has been convicted,” [1] implying that capital punishment may be constitutional. Articles 73-75 describe the clemency process for death-sentenced individuals, and other provisions address the political rights of death-sentenced individuals. [2]

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

The Constitution does not reference international human rights protections or the influence of international law or treaties upon adjudication. Additionally, it lacks provisions establishing a judiciary, instead referencing the Supreme Court Order (now the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Order), a treaty-based organic statute establishing a regional Caribbean court that must be amended in the same manner as the Constitution (except regarding giving effect to other international agreements regarding courts). The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Order establishes a regional judiciary, and according to the Constitution, this regional judiciary’s High Court has original and appellate jurisdiction over all criminal cases in Dominica. Final appeal lies to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, an international Commonwealth court. There are no other provisions directly concerning the impact of international or regional human rights law on domestic law. [3]

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

No recent changes have taken place in the execution of death sentences; there have been no executions since 1986. [4] Because the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council’s decision in Pratt and Morgan v. Jamaica is probably applied in Dominica, a duration of 5 or more years on death row is presumptively inhuman treatment and forms the basis of an appeal against a sentence of death; courts have observed that the effect of Pratt has been to limit executions in the Caribbean commonwealth. [5] Dominica helped form the Caribbean Court of Justice, but a switch to that court’s jurisdiction would not, as some anticipate, mark the end of Pratt—a decision that the CCJ has explicitly stated is legitimate if need in modification. [6] Despite rumors that the CCJ was formed to undermine Pratt, the CCJ rejects this position, pointing out that the court was actually proposed prior to Pratt and in regard to other pressing issues. [7]

In 2005, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Balson v. The State struck down the mandatory death penalty as inhuman treatment and thus invalid under Dominica’s Constitution. This upheld and extended the jurisprudence of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. [8] Jurisprudence of the Eastern Caribbean Courts, which serve as Dominica’s domestic High Court and Court of Appeal, has consistently restricted the scope of the death penalty over the past decade. [9]

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

No, although the situation on a moratorium is unclear. While Dominica has commuted all death sentences, which would seem to indicate a moratorium on executions, it also asserts it must retain the death penalty in its law [10] and has signed the Note Verbale of disassociation from the U.N. resolution on the moratorium on the death penalty, [11] and we have found no reports of an official moratorium.

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

In 2005, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in Balson v. The State struck down the mandatory death penalty as inhuman treatment and thus invalid under Dominica’s Constitution. This upheld and extended the jurisprudence of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court. [12] Jurisprudence of the Eastern Caribbean Courts, which serve as Dominica’s domestic High Court and Court of Appeal, and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, has consistently restricted the scope of the death penalty over the past decade. [13]

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

Decisions of the Eastern Caribbean High Court and Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeals are available at http://www.eccourts.org/.

Decisions of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council are available at http://www.privy-council.org.uk/output/Page31.asp.

What is the clemency process?

A President-appointed (and Prime-minister approved) Minister, prior to the execution of any sentence of death, must obtain a written report from the trial judge and other useful information and submit it to the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy. The Advisory Committee makes recommendations, and the Minister decides “in his own deliberate judgment” whether to advise the President to exercise the prerogative of mercy. The President must act “in accordance with the advice of [the] Minister” in granting a pardon, partial respite or commutation not reducing the sentence below two years imprisonment. [14]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Jury trials are provided for defendants. [15]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

According to the Constitution and the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Order, the High Court division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court has original jurisdiction all cases. Appeal lies to the Court of Appeals division of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court; appeals beyond these domestic regional courts lie to the Commonwealth court of appeal, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council. These appeals may be as of right or by leave of the higher court as defined by the Constitution and law. [16] Currently, Dominica does not recognize the jurisdiction of the American Court of Human Rights.

While Dominica helped form the Caribbean Court of Justice and at some time in the future could substitute that court for the JCPC, it has not yet done so. [17]

References

[1] Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica Order No. 1027 of 1978, art. 2(1), amended by Act No. 22 of 1984.
[2] Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica Order No. 1027 of 1978, arts. 32(1)(d) & 35(3)(f), 73-75, amended by Act No. 22 of 1984.
[3] Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica Order No. 1027 of 1978, arts. 16, 42, 104-106, amended by Act No. 22 of 1984; Dominica Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Order No. 10 of 1960, Laws of Dominica Ch. 4:02, L.R.O. 1991.
[4] Thomson Fontaine, A Call to Remove the Death Penalty in Dominica, TheDominican.net, http://thedominican.net/2009/02/call-to-remove-death-penalty-in.html, Feb. 18, 2009.
[5] 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.
[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.
[7] Caribbean Court of Justice, About the Caribbean Court of Justice, http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/about2.htm, 2003; Caribbean Court of Justice, http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/default.htm, 2003.
[8] Balson v. State, paras. 40-46, Appeal No. 26 of 2004, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 2, 2005; Queen v. Hughes, para. 27, 38-53, Appeal No. 91 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002; Spence & Hughes v. Queen, Criminal Appeals No. 20 of 1998 & No. 14 of 1997, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Apr. 2, 2001.
[9] Wilson v. Queen, para. 17, Criminal Appeal No. 30 of 2004, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Nov. 28, 2005.
[10] Trimmingham v. Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 32 of 2004, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Oct. 13, 2005; overturned by Trimmingham v. Queen, para. 23, Appeal No. 67 of 2007, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Jun. 22, 2009.
[11] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, paras. 1, 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[12] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[13] Balson v. State, paras. 40-46, Appeal No. 26 of 2004, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Feb. 2, 2005; Queen v. Hughes, para. 27, 38-53, Appeal No. 91 of 2001, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002; Spence & Hughes v. Queen, Criminal Appeals No. 20 of 1998 & No. 14 of 1997, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Apr. 2, 2001.
[14] Wilson v. Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 30 of 2004, para. 17, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Nov. 28, 2005.
[15] Trimmingham v. Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 32 of 2004, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Oct. 13, 2005; overturned by Trimmingham v. Queen, para. 23, Appeal No. 67 of 2007, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Jun. 22, 2009.
[16] Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica Order, No. 1027 of 1978, arts. 73-75, amended by Act No. 22 of 1984.
[17] Criminal Law and Procedure Act of 1873, arts. 62, 68, Laws of Dominica Ch. 12:01, 1995.
[18] U.S. State Department, 2009 Human Rights Report: Dominica, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136109.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[19] Constitution of the Commonwealth of Dominica Order No. 1027 of 1978, arts. 16, 42, 104-106, , amended by Act No. 22 of 1984; Dominica Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Order No. 10 of 1969, Laws of Dominica Ch. 4:02, L.R.O. 1991.
[20] About the Caribbean Court of Justice, http://www.caribbeancourtofjustice.org/about.htm , last accessed Apr. 10, 2010.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

On December 7, 2009, Dominica’s delegation to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Dominica reported that all death sentences had been commuted in Dominica. [1] We have found no reports of death sentences since that date. Stockfarm Prison is the only prison on Dominica. [2]

Description of Prison Conditions

Prisons are under capacity but are generally unsanitary, with poor building conditions. Juveniles are held with adults, and remand prisoners are held with convicts. [3] According to the Criminal Code, death row prisoners are supposed to be kept in a separate part of the prison, with no access from the outside. [4]

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

On December 7, 2009, Dominica’s delegation to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Dominica reported that all death sentences had been commuted in Dominica. [5] We have found no reports of death sentences since that date.

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

On December 7, 2009, Dominica’s delegation to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Dominica reported that all death sentences had been commuted in Dominica. [6] We have found no reports of death sentences since that date.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

On December 7, 2009, Dominica’s delegation to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Dominica reported that all death sentences had been commuted in Dominica. [7] We have found no reports of death sentences since that date.

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?

On December 7, 2009, Dominica’s delegation to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Dominica reported that all death sentences had been commuted in Dominica. [8] We have found no reports of death sentences since that date.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

On December 7, 2009, Dominica’s delegation to the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Dominica reported that all death sentences had been commuted in Dominica. [9] We have found no reports of death sentences since that date.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

There are government-provided lawyers for serious crimes. [10]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

The organic statute establishing Dominica’s courts, the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Order, describes costs allowable to individuals to whom counsel for appeal has been assigned; [11] presumably, counsel for appeals is limited to appellants facing serious penalties. [12]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

None.

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

References

[1] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, para. 1, 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Dominica, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136109.htm, Mar. 10, 2010; UN Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 15(a) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1: Dominica, para. 52, A/HRC/WG.6/6/DMA/1, Dec. 3, 2009.
[3] U.S. State Department, 2009 Human Rights Report: Dominica, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136109.htm, Mar 11, 2010.
[4] , Criminal Law and Procedure Act No. 3 of 1873, art. 63, Laws of Dominica Ch. 12:01, L.R.O. 1995.
[5] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, paras. 1, 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[6] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, paras. 1, 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[7] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, paras. 1, 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[8] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, paras. 1, 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[9] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, paras. 1, 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[10] U.S. State Department, 2009 Human Rights Report: Dominica, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136109.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[11] Dominica Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court Order No. 10 of 1969, art. 51, Laws of Dominica Ch. 4:02, L.R.O. 1991.
[12] U.S. State Department, 2009 Human Rights Report: Dominica, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136109.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

Although Dominica is a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Human Rights Committee has issued no Concluding Observations pursuant to periodic review of human rights in Dominica. See http://www.ohchr.org/EN/countries/LACRegion/Pages/DMIndex.aspx for available UN documents.

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In its Concluding Observations on its 2009 Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Dominica, the Human Rights Council recommended that Dominica abolish the death penalty. [1]

References

[1] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, para. 70(36), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.

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

None.

Additional notes regarding this country

Dominica is experiencing an increase in violent crime incidents despite suffering far less from increasing violent crime than does most of the Caribbean community. [1] Voices within Dominica include outspoken secular and religious critics of the death penalty; [2] however, officials believe that although the unofficial moratorium on executions is likely to continue, it is politically impractical to abolish the death penalty at this time. [3] In critiquing wealthier nations for pressuring Dominica to abolish the death penalty completely, the Prime Minister has not engaged in a wholesale defense of the death penalty. Instead, he has noted that Dominica will not eliminate the death penalty for murder and treason because Dominica is not as well-positioned to eliminate the death penalty. Amid his general call for judges to award harsher sentences for violent crime, he referred to examples of the most atrocious aggravated murders as those that would justify the death penalty. [4] While abolishment of the death penalty in Dominica is a sensitive issue, it is unlikely that Dominicans support an expansive death penalty.

References

[1] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, para. 33, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[2] Thomson Fontaine, A Call to Remove the Death Penalty in Dominica, TheDominican.net, Feb. 18, 2009, http://thedominican.net/2009/02/call-to-remove-death-penalty-in.html (last visited Mar. 27, 2010).
[3] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Dominica, para. 33, 67, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/13/12, Jan. 4, 2010.
[4] PM Says No to Removal of Death Penalty, TheDominican.net, http://www.thedominican.net/articles/newsdesk30.htm, Feb. 2, 2009.

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