Death Penalty Database

Laos

Information current as of: April 2, 2011

General

Official Country Name

Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Laos). [1]

Geographical Region

Asia (South-eastern Asia). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. [3]

Methods of Execution

Shooting. [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Laos, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2770.htm, Nov. 30, 2010.
[2] U.N., World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010; Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 88, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[4] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 32, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.

Country Details

Language(s)

Lao. [1]

Population

6,800,000. (2009 est.). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

At least 89. In March 2009, the government of Laos reported to Amnesty International that at the end of 2008, there were 85 people on death row. [3] Additionally, in July 2010, 4 men were sentenced to death on drug-trafficking charges. [4] We found no reports of either commutations or executions.

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2017 to date (last updated on October 18, 2017)

0. [5]

Executions in 2016

0. [6]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [12]

Executions in 2009

0. [13]

Executions in 2008

0. [14]

Executions in 2007

0. [15]

Year of Last Known Execution

1989. The last known execution took place in 1989. [16] Lao government representatives have stated to the UN that no execution had “ever” taken place in the country, [17] but this comment could be understood as referring to the era inaugurated by the new Penal Law, which was promulgated in January 1990. [18]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Laos, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2770.htm, Nov. 30, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Laos, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2770.htm, Nov. 30, 2010.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, Eighth session of the UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council, May 2010, p. 5, ASA 23/003/2009, Nov. 2, 2009.
[4] Vientiane Times, Four drug dealers sentenced to death, http://www.unodc.org/laopdr/en/stories/four-drug-dealers-sentenced-to-death.html, Aug. 4, 2010. Amnesty did not report any death sentences in Laos during 2009. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[5] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[6] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[7] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[11] 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.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 13, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[15] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, Eighth session of the UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council, May 2010, p. 5, ASA 23/003/2009, Nov. 2, 2009; Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 88, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008; Amnesty Intl., Public Statement: Official moratorium on the death penalty – an opportunity for Laos, ASA 26/001/2008, Jul. 16, 2008.
[17] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[18] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, No. 4/PO, Jan. 9, 1990.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Murdering a person after committing a rape; [1] murdering several persons; murdering civil servants performing their duties; murdering a pregnant woman; committing murder “as a regular profession;” committing a “barbarous murder;” murdering a person to conceal another offence; or committing a planned murder [2] are punishable by death

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Hostage-taking: Taking many persons hostage and causing them to die is punishable by death. [3] Robbery of the state: Committing acts of robbery against the state or against “collective assets,” with the robbery resulting in loss of life, is punishable by death. [4] Obstructing an officer in the performance of his public duties and causing his death is punishable by death. [5] Trafficking in women or children and causing the death of a victim is punishable by death. [6]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Hijacking: Using force to hijack an airplane, ship or car or to destroy an airport or harbor, and causing “large damage to life”, is punishable by death. [7] Hostage-taking: Taking many persons hostage and causing them to die is punishable by death. [8]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Terrorism related to transport: Using force to hijack an airplane, ship or car, or to destroy an airport or harbor, and causing “large damage to […] health or property,” is punishable by death. [9] Causing “severe damage” to the “security” of airplanes, boats or cars, or airports or harbors, in violation of regulations, is punishable by death. [10]

Acts of terrorism against the national economy: Committing any of the following acts, with the intent of undermining the national economy, is punishable by death: damaging factories, roads, communications equipment, or other elements of the state’s economic infrastructure; [11] releasing toxic chemicals or viruses among communities or animals; [12] or disrupting industry, trade, agriculture or other economic activities. [13]

Attacking detention centers with the intent to liberate prisoners is punishable by death. [14]

Use of chemical weapons designed to harm human beings and resulting in “large damage” is punished by death. [15]

Robbery Not Resulting in Death.
Robbing the state or “collective assets” as part of a regular profession, as part of an organized group, or where the robbery results in severe injuries or substantial damage, is punishable by death. [16] (See comments.)

Kidnapping Not Resulting in Death.
Taking many persons hostage, torturing or physically harassing them, or causing them to suffer harm, is punishable by death. [17] Trafficking in women or children and causing a victim to suffer a lifetime incapacity, or to be infected with HIV/AIDS, is punishable by death. [18] (See comments.)

Drug Trafficking Not Resulting in Death.
Producing, distributing, or transporting more than five hundred grams of heroin, [19] more than three thousand grams of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances, [20] or more than ten thousand grams of precursors for the production of narcotics [21] is punished by death.

Drug Possession.
Possessing more than five hundred grams of heroin, [22] more than three thousand grams of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances, [23] or more than ten thousand grams of precursors for the production of narcotics [24] is punished by death.

Economic Crimes Not Resulting in Death.
Disrupting industry, trade, agriculture or other economic activities with the intent of undermining the national economy is punishable by death. [25]

Treason.
Acts of treason are punishable by death. [26] Committing an assault on a state leader or state official with the intent of undermining state authority, with the assault resulting in death, is punishable by death. [27] Committing an assault on a foreign dignitary or a representative of an international organization with the intent of undermining international relations, with the assault resulting in death, is also punishable by death. [28]

Espionage.
Acts of espionage are punishable by death. [29]

Other Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Obstructing an officer in the performance of his public duties, and causing him to be physically disabled, is punishable by death. [30] (See comments.)

Trafficking in women or children and causing a victim to suffer a lifetime incapacity, or to be infected with HIV/AIDS, is punishable by death. [31] (See comments.)

Comments.
The offenses of obstructing an officer in the performance of his public duties, [32] trafficking in women or children, [33] robbing the state [34] and taking many persons hostage [35] may be read as death-eligible offenses whether they result in death or in serious injury. However, it is possible that capital punishment is reserved for the most serious variants of these offenses, i.e. those resulting in death. The wording of the provisions is ambiguous, and we were unable to find any information clarifying this point.

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Unsure. On the one hand, Amnesty International reports that in 2001 Laos amended its Penal Law to make the death penalty mandatory for drug trafficking and drug possession above certain quantities. [36] In 2008, Amnesty reported that a woman would have otherwise faced the mandatory death penalty if she had not been pregnant. [37] Moreover, while most death-eligible offenses list a range of sentencing options, three list only death: use of chemical weapons against persons, and drug trafficking and possession above certain quantities. [38] On the other hand, Article 40 describes how courts may consider mitigating factors in determining penalties, [39] without any statutory exceptions. Furthermore, in Orobator v. Lao PDR, the People’s Court suggested that Article 40 could allow permissive reduction of a sentence of death for drug trafficking, although the Court could have relied completely on Article 32 (prohibiting the death penalty against pregnant women) to rule out the death penalty. [40]

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

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Use of chemical weapons designed to harm human beings and resulting in “large damage” is punished by death. [41] (See comments.

Drug Trafficking Not Resulting in Death.
Producing, distributing, or transporting more than five hundred grams of heroin, [42] more than three thousand grams of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances, [43] or more than ten thousand grams of precursors for the production of narcotics [44] is punished by death. (See comments.)

Drug Possession.
Possessing more than five hundred grams of heroin, [45] more than three thousand grams of amphetamines or other psychotropic substances, [46] or more than ten thousand grams of precursors for the production of narcotics [47] is punished by death. (See comments.)

Comments.
We are unsure whether Laos applies a mandatory death penalty. On the one hand, Amnesty International reports that in 2001 Laos amended its Penal Law to make the death penalty mandatory for drug trafficking and drug possession above certain quantities. [48] In 2008, Amnesty reported that a woman would have otherwise faced the mandatory death penalty if she had not been pregnant. [49] Moreover, while most death-eligible offenses list a range of sentencing options, three list only death: use of chemical weapons against persons, and drug trafficking and possession above certain quantities. [50] On the other hand, Article 40 describes how courts may consider mitigating factors in determining penalties, [51] without any statutory exceptions. Furthermore, in Orobator v. Lao PDR, the People’s Court suggested that Article 40 could allow permissive reduction of a sentence of death for drug trafficking, although the Court could have relied completely on Article 32 (prohibiting the death penalty against pregnant women) to rule out the death penalty. [52]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

None.

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
The death penalty is not applicable to individuals who are less than 18 at the time of the offence. [53] In addition, Laos is party to the ICCPR [54] and to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, [55] which prohibit the execution of individuals for crimes committed while under the age of 18.

Pregnant Women.
The death penalty is not applicable to women who are pregnant at the time the offence is committed, when the court makes its decision, or when the sentence is imposed. [56] Additionally, Laos is party to the ICCPR, [57] which prohibits the execution of pregnant women. In 2009, British national Samantha Orobator was found guilty of trafficking 680 grams of heroin, an offense normally punished by death. Her pregnancy led the court to pronounce a reduced sentence of life imprisonment. [58]

Intellectually Disabled.
Some exceptions based on mental competence could apply to the intellectually disabled. The Penal Code states that an offender must be “mentally competent” for an offence to be constituted. [59]

Mentally Ill.
An offender must be “mentally competent” and “not insane” for an offence to be constituted. [60] An offender who is “under a state of mental disturbance” at the time of commission of the offence or at the time of sentencing may benefit from medical treatment and be sent to a psychiatric hospital. Normal sentencing procedures resume after the offender has recovered. The duration of treatment must be included in calculating the punishment. [61] If “the accused has lost control of his mental faculties” and there is confirmation from a doctor or the prosecutor or the court request it, the offender’s case is suspended and he is sent for treatment. The suspended case is dismissed if the limitation period for prosecution expires. [62]

References

[1] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 128, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[2] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 88, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[3] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 101, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[4] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 107, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[5] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 158, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[6] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on the Development and Protection of Women, art. 49, Law No.08/NA, Oct. 22, 2004.
[7] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 98, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[8] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 101, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[9] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 98, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[10] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 175, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[11] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 61, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[12] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 61, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[13] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 62, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[14] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 68, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[15] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 80, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[16] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 107, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[17] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 101, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[18] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on the Development and Protection of Women, art. 49, Law No.08/NA, Oct. 22, 2004.
[19] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(1), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[20] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(2), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[21] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(3), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[22] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(1), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[23] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(2), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[24] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(3), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[25] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 62, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[26] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, arts. 56-57, 67, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[27] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 60, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[28] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 60, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[29] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 58, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[30] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 158, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[31] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on the Development and Protection of Women, art. 49, Law No.08/NA, Oct. 22, 2004.
[32] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 158, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[33] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on the Development and Protection of Women, art. 49, Law No.08/NA, Oct. 22, 2004.
[34] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 107, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[35] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 101, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[36] Patrick Gallahue & Rick Lines, The Death Penalty for Drug Offenses: Global Overview 2010, p. 17 fn. 100, International Harm Reduction Association, http://www.ihra.net/files/2010/06/16/IHRA_DeathPenaltyReport_Web.pdf, 2010.
[37] Amnesty Intl., Concern Grows for British Woman Held in Laos, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/concern-grows-british-woman-held-laos-20090506, May 5, 2009.
[38] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, arts. 80, 146, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[39] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 40, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[40] Orobator v. HPM Holloway, para. 59, CO/9527/2009, U.K. High Court of Justice, Jan. 20, 2010.
[41] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 80, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[42] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(1), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[43] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(2), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[44] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(3), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[45] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(1), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[46] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(2), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[47] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 146(3), Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[48] Patrick Gallahue & Rick Lines, The Death Penalty for Drug Offenses: Global Overview 2010, p. 17 fn. 100, International Harm Reduction Association, http://www.ihra.net/files/2010/06/16/IHRA_DeathPenaltyReport_Web.pdf, 2010.
[49] Amnesty Intl., Concern Grows for British Woman Held in Laos, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/concern-grows-british-woman-held-laos-20090506, May 5, 2009.
[50] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, arts. 80, 146, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[51] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 40, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[52] Orobator v. HPM Holloway, para. 59, CO/9527/2009, U.K. High Court of Justice, Jan. 20, 2010.
[53] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 32, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.

U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Live Webcast, Fifteenth Session, 16th Plenary Meeting, Consideration of the Outcome on Lao People's Democratic Republic, H.E. Mr Yong Chanthalangsy, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Geneva, Time : 8:35 to 8:41, http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=100921, Sep. 21, 2010.

[54] 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 Nov. 8, 2010.
[55] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=UNTSONLINE&tabid=2&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en#Participants, last accessed Nov. 8, 2010.
[56] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 32, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Live Webcast, Fifteenth Session, 16th Plenary Meeting, Consideration of the Outcome on Lao People's Democratic Republic, H.E. Mr Yong Chanthalangsy, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Geneva, Time: 8:35 to 8:41, http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=100921, Sep. 21, 2010.
[57] 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. 29, 2010.
[58] Reprieve, Case Briefing: Samantha Orobator, http://www.reprieve.org.uk/samanthaorobator, Aug. 7, 2009.
[59] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 7, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[60] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 7, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[61] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Penal Law, art. 54, Law No. 12/NA, Nov. 9, 2005.
[62] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, arts. 69, 114, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

Sep. 25, 2009. [2]

Signed?

Yes. [3]

Date of Signature

Dec. 7, 2000. [4]

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

Party?

No. [5]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [6]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

No. [7]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [8]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

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. [9]

Vote

Abstained. [10]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [11]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [12]

Vote

Abstained. [13]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [14]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [15]

Vote

Abstained. [16]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [17]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [18]

Vote

Abstained. [19]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [20]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [21]

Vote

Abstained. [22]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [23]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [24]

Vote

Abstained. [25]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [26]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 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 Aug. 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 Aug. 20, 2010.
[4] 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. 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 Aug. 20, 2010.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 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 Aug. 20, 2010.
[8] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Aug. 20, 2010.
[9] 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.
[10] 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.
[11] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[12] 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.
[13] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[14] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[15] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[16] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[17] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[18] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, 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.
[19] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[20] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[21] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[22] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[23] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[24] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[25] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[26] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

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

Article 6 states that “[all] acts of bureaucratism and harassment that can be detrimental to…[life]…are prohibited;” [1] Article 42 protects the right to bodily integrity against unlawful search and seizure. [2] While both provisions protect life from improper extrajudicial action, they do not explicitly limit a judicially applied death penalty.

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

No. [3]

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

At its Universal Periodic Review in May 2010, the Lao government expressed its intention to maintain the death penalty as “an exceptional measure of the punishment”[sic] [4] because “it is an effective deterrent to most serious offenses,” [5] such as drug trafficking. [6] The Lao government added that it was not ready to consider ratifying the 2nd Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, [7] stating that the recommendations to accede to this treaty did not “reflect the real situation of Lao PDR”. [8]

However, the government also pointed out that although the death penalty “existed legally,” no execution had ever taken place [9] (since 1989), and that it had “upheld a moratorium for many years.” [10] While there is an internationally acknowledged de facto moratorium in place, [11] there is no official de jure moratorium on executions. During the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, Belgium recommended that Laos “impose an immediate de jure moratorium on executions;” [12] Laos rejected the recommendation. [13]

Furthermore, the government stated that it was willing to consider limiting the scope of crimes to which the death penalty would apply in its next criminal law revision, [14] with a view to bringing its laws into compliance with the ICCPR. [15]

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

No official moratorium is in place. The Lao government said in May 2010 that it has upheld a moratorium “for many years,” [16] and has not carried out an execution since 1989. [17] During the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, Belgium recommended that Laos “impose an immediate de jure moratorium on executions;” [18] Laos rejected the recommendation. [19] Thus, while there is an internationally acknowledged de facto moratorium in place, [20] there is no official de jure moratorium on executions.

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

In Orobator v. Lao DPR, the People’s Court sentenced a pregnant defendant to life imprisonment rather than the death penalty for trafficking 680 grams of heroin, an offense which is believed to carry the mandatory death penalty. In sentencing, Article 32—a mandatory prohibition against pronouncement of the death penalty on pregnant women—may have been of overriding importance. However, the court also referenced Article 40, a universal permissive mitigation permission, as a reason for not applying the death penalty. This could suggest a willingness to consider broadening the application of Article 40. [21]

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

By the end of our research, we were unable to locate any publicly accessible source of Lao judicial decisions regarding the death penalty. Some criminal trials relating to national security and state secrets are closed to the public, but most cases that do not involve minors or disputes of a private, personal nature are open proceedings, according to law. [22]

What is the clemency process?

After a death-sentenced offender has exhausted all appeals, the President of the People’s Supreme Court issues the order to carry out the execution after reviewing the correctness of the sentence. The offender has 30 days from the issuance of this order to request a pardon from the President of the State. The execution is carried out one year after the decision not to grant a pardon, or one year after the People’s Supreme Court issues its order if there is no request for a pardon. [23]

Given that there are currently at least 89 persons on death row, and that no executions have taken place in the past 21 years, it seems that the President may take an indefinite period of time to consider a petition. Comments from Lao government representatives suggest that pardons are granted on special national occasions. [24]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

No. Jury trials do not exist in the Lao criminal justice system. Defendants facing capital punishment are tried by a panel of judges. [25]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

Defendants, prosecutors or civil plaintiffs may appeal a case to Court of Appeal, [26] which considers facts de novo and may consider issues sua sponte. [27] The Court of Appeal may confirm or reverse the decision or remand it for further proceedings. [28] After appeal or for any disputed question of law during proceedings, any party may petition for cassation (review on questions of law) by the People’s Supreme Court. [29] After an offender has exhausted all appeals and petitions, the President of the Supreme People’s Court must review whether the penalty is appropriate before issuing an order confirming the sentence of death. [30] Deadlines for appeals or petitions may be waived, and the law anticipates approximately three months between each stage of the proceedings. [31]

References

[1] Constitution of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, art. 6, Law No. 25/NA, May 6, 2003.
[2] Constitution of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, art. 42, Law No. 25/NA, May 6, 2003.
[3] Constitution of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law No. 25/NA, May 6, 2003.
[4] 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, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 40, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/8/LAO/1, Feb. 22, 2010.
[5] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report on the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Addendum, Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review, para. 18, U.N. Doc A/HRC/15/5/Add.1, Sep. 14, 2010.
[6] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report on the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Addendum, Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review, para. 18, U.N. Doc A/HRC/15/5/Add.1, Sep. 14, 2010.
[7] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Human Rights Council on its Fifteenth Session, Advance Unedited Version, para. 324, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/L.10, Oct. 1, 2010. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Live Webcast, Fifteenth Session, 16th Plenary Meeting, Consideration of the Outcome on Lao People's Democratic Republic, H.E. Mr Yong Chanthalangsy, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Geneva, Time: 8:55 to 9:20, http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=100921, Sep. 21, 2010.
[8] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Live Webcast, Fifteenth Session, 16th Plenary Meeting, Consideration of the Outcome on Lao People's Democratic Republic, H.E. Mr Yong Chanthalangsy, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Geneva, Time: 5:13 to 5:24, http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=100921, Sep. 21, 2010.
[9] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[10] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[11] See, for example, U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 98(18), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[12] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 98(19), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[13] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report on the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Addendum, Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review, para. 18, U.N. Doc A/HRC/15/5/Add.1, Sep. 14, 2010.
[14] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[15] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report on the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Addendum, Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review, para. 18, U.N. Doc A/HRC/15/5/Add.1, Sep. 14, 2010. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Live Webcast, Fifteenth Session, 16th Plenary Meeting, Consideration of the Outcome on Lao People's Democratic Republic, H.E. Mr Yong Chanthalangsy, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Geneva, Time: 8:55 to 9:20, http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=100921, Sep. 21, 2010.
[16] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[17] Amnesty Intl., Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review, Eighth session of the UPR Working Group of the Human Rights Council, May 2010, p. 5, ASA 23/003/2009, Nov. 2, 2009; Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 88, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008; Amnesty Intl., Public Statement: Official moratorium on the death penalty – an opportunity for Laos, ASA 26/001/2008, Jul. 16, 2008.
[18] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 98(19), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[19] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report on the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Addendum, Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review, para. 18, U.N. Doc A/HRC/15/5/Add.1, Sep. 14, 2010.
[20] See, for example, U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 98(18), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[21] See Orobator v. HPM Holloway, para. 59, CO/9527/2009, U.K. High Court of Justice, Jan. 20, 2010.
[22] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 13, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[23] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 107, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[24] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Live Webcast, Fifteenth Session, 16th Plenary Meeting, Consideration of the Outcome on Lao People's Democratic Republic, H.E. Mr Yong Chanthalangsy, Ambassador, Permanent Mission of Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Geneva, Time: 8:41 to 8:55, http://www.un.org/webcast/unhrc/archive.asp?go=100921, Sep. 21, 2010.
[25] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, arts. 78-80, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[26] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 85, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[27] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 91, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[28] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 92, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[29] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 96, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[30] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 107, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[31] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, arts. 87, 97, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

Our research did not reveal a specific death row prison. Foreigners, [1] including one charged with a crime punished by death, [2] have been detained in Phonthong Prison, in the capital Vientiane. Political prisoners are often detained in Samkhe Prison, 3km outside of Vientiane. [3] The Foreign Prisoner Support Service website provides a list of Lao prisons. [4]

Description of Prison Conditions

The government does not permit regular independent monitoring of prison conditions. [5] However, credible reports have emerged to indicate that prison conditions in general are harsh [6] and at times life threatening. [7] Beatings, long-term solitary confinement in completely dark rooms, and the chaining and manacling of prisoners are reported to be frequent punishments, especially in larger prisons. [8] Reports indicate overcrowding, [9] a shortage of food and clean water, [10] and lack of medical treatment, especially for serious ailments. [11] Most prisoners rely on their families for sustenance, but visitation policies are set by prison wardens, and thus vary considerably. Male and female prisoners are generally detained separately, but some juveniles are held with adults. Prisoners in the larger state-run prisons located in the capital generally fare better than those detained in provincial prisons. [12]

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

By December 2010, we had not found any reports of foreign nationals being on death row. We note, however, that it is difficult to answer this question conclusively in the negative, since there are serious allegations of foreigners being detained, sometimes for years, without their consular representatives being informed. [13]

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

No foreign nationals are known to be currently on death row.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

By December 2010, we were unable to find any data about the gender composition of death row. However, we believe that there is at least one woman currently under a sentence of death. She was sentenced to capital punishment for a drug offence in 2005, [14] and we found no reports of executions or commutations since.

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?

By December 2010, we were unable to ascertain whether there were any juveniles currently under sentence of death.

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

The Lao government does not make available any data on persons sentenced to death. The racial composition of death row is unknown. However, international organizations report that that ethnic minority prisoners are treated particularly harshly. [15] The discrimination and human rights violations suffered by the Hmong people are widely documented, and evangelical Christians and Hmong people face persecution and indoctrination in Party ideology. [16] We did not find reports that Hmong people or Christians are faced with capital charges, although they are detained arbitrarily.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

The law requires that defendants facing capital punishment be represented by a “protector”. A protector is defined as a lawyer, a representative of an organization, or a close relative of the accused who “participates in the proceedings to protect the rights and interests” of the defendant. Protectors have the same rights and obligations as legal counsel, including the right to appeal decisions. If a death-penalty defendant has no protector, the court is required to appoint a lawyer. [17]

In practice, however, this legal requirement does not translate into effective representation. Incommunicado detention is a common occurrence, with prisoners unable to contact their families or lawyers. [18] There are also a limited number of independent lawyers in the country. [19] One defendant facing a mandatory death sentence, British national Samantha Orobator, spent months without being allowed to speak to any lawyer, despite consular pressure. [20] She met her state-appointed lawyer only once, less than a month before her trial, and the meeting was not in private. [21]

The United Nations Development Program for Laos is assisting in implementing a Master Plan for a Rule of Law State. In June 2010, the UNDP issued a memo outlining the initial stages of extending legal aid services. The “first legal aid clinic” had opened in the nation’s capital city, with a mobile clinic that visited villages in the capital region. [22]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

The law requires that defendants facing capital punishment be represented by a “protector”, including on appeal. A protector is defined as a lawyer, a representative of an organization, or a close relative of the accused who “participates in the proceedings to protect the rights and interests” of the defendant. Protectors have the same rights and obligations as legal counsel, including the right to appeal decisions. If a death-penalty defendant has no protector, the court is required to appoint a lawyer. [23]

In practice, however, this legal requirement does not translate into effective representation. Incommunicado detention is a common occurrence, with prisoners unable to contact their families or lawyers. [24] There are also a limited number of independent lawyers in the country. [25] One defendant facing a mandatory death sentence, British national Samantha Orobator, spent months without being allowed to speak to her or any other lawyer, despite consular pressure. [26] She met her state-appointed lawyer only once, less than a month before her trial, and never in private. [27]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

According to the Canadian Bar Association, which has participated in rule-of-law development programs in Laos, “there was effectively no legal profession in Lao” before the establishment of the Lao Bar Association in 1996. Consequently, there is a low level of practical lawyering skills in the country. Moreover, the concept of a lawyer as advocate is not widely understood by the public or within the justice system, including by judges, the police, and sometimes lawyers themselves. [28] Because of the widespread perception that lawyers cannot affect court decisions, most defendants do not choose to be represented by professionals. [29] There are a limited number of independent lawyers in the country. [30]

The United Nations Development Program for Laos is also involved in drafting laws, codes of conduct and providing legal and professional training for lawyers and interns. [31]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Criminal trials in Laos do not meet the fundamental requirements of fairness. [32] By law defendants enjoy a presumption of innocence; [33] however, judges often decide the outcome of a case in advance, based on police or prosecution reports, and most criminal trials are described as “pro forma examinations of the accused.” [34] One defendant facing potentially capital charges, British national Samantha Orobator, spent months without being allowed to speak to her or any other lawyer, despite consular pressure. [35] She met her state-appointed lawyer only once, less than a month before her trial, and not in private. Her lawyer did not conduct any investigations or gather any witness testimonies. [36] At her trial in June 2009, she was unable to enter a plea, was questioned only by the prosecution, and was sentenced in half an hour. [37]

There are reports of corruption in the police and in the judiciary. [38] The law provides criminal penalties for corruption, but these provisions are not enforced. [39]

All of the country’s judges are members of the ruling party, and most have had “only basic legal training”. [40]

In mid-2010, the United Nations Development Program for Laos reported some progress on drafting laws and codes of conduct and educating the public on legal matters in conjunction with the Lao Bar Association. [41]

References

[1] Andrew Drummond, Locked Up in a Hell Hole, Bangkok Post, http://www.bangkokpost.com/news/investigation/16472/locked-up-in-a-hell-hole, May 10, 2009.
[2] The Guardian, Pregnant Briton Samantha Orobator to face drug smuggling trial in Laos on Monday, http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/may/03/samantha-orobator-laos-smuggling-trial, May 3, 2009.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Laos: Amnesty International Report 2008, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/laos/report-2008, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010. Foreign Prisoner Support Service, Laos Prisons – Samkhe Prison, http://www.usp.com.au/fpss/prison-laos-samkhe.html, last accessed Nov. 13, 2010.
[4] Foreign Prisoner Support Service, Laos Prisons, http://www.foreignprisoners.com/, last accessed Dec. 8, 2010.
[5] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (c) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 20, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/8/LAO/3, Jan. 28, 2010.
[6] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (c) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 20, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/8/LAO/3, Jan. 28, 2010.
[7] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[8] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Amnesty International Report 2008: The State of the World’s Human Rights, Laos, p. 187, POL 10/001/2008, May 28, 2008.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Summary prepared by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in accordance with paragraph 15 (c) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 20, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/8/LAO/3, Jan. 28, 2010.
[11] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[12] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[13] Kay Danes, Former Political Prisoner Laos 2000-01 and Author of Deliver Us From Evil, Human Dignity, Foreign Prisoner Support Service, http://www.usp.com.au/fpss/political/kaydanes.html, last accessed Nov. 17, 2010.
[14] Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort, La peine de mort: Laos (République démocratique populaire du), http://www.abolition.fr/ecpm/french/fiche-pays.php?pays=LAO, last accessed Nov. 17, 2010.
[15] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Human Rights in Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Report 2009, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/laos/report-2009, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Laos – Amnesty International Report 2008, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/laos/report-2008, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Laos – Amnesty International Report 2007, http://www.amnesty.org/en/region/laos/report-2007, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
[17] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 35, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[18] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Concern Grows for British Woman Held in Laos, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/concern-grows-british-woman-held-laos-20090506, May 5, 2009.
[19] Embassy of the United States: Vientiane: Laos, Legal Assistance: Attorneys in Laos, http://laos.usembassy.gov/attorneys.html, revised Dec. 2009, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
[20] Reprieve, New litigation filed on behalf of Samantha Orobator, http://www.reprieve.org.uk/2009_08_26reprievebindmansorobatorpressrelease, Aug. 26, 2009.
[21] Reprieve, Case Briefing: Samantha Orobator, http://www.reprieve.org.uk/samanthaorobator, Aug. 7, 2009.
[22] United Nations Development Program, Enhancing Access to Justice through Lao Bar Association (Phase II), http://www.undplao.org/whatwedo/factsheets/democratic/2010/2010-06_LBA_Fact%20Sheet%202010_final.pdf, Jun. 2010.
[23] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 35, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[24] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010. Amnesty Intl., Concern Grows for British Woman Held in Laos, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/concern-grows-british-woman-held-laos-20090506, May 5, 2009.
[25] Embassy of the United States: Vientiane: Laos, Legal Assistance: Attorneys in Laos, http://laos.usembassy.gov/attorneys.html, revised Dec. 2009, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
[26] Reprieve, New litigation filed on behalf of Samantha Orobator, http://www.reprieve.org.uk/2009_08_26reprievebindmansorobatorpressrelease, Aug. 26, 2009.
[27] Reprieve, Case Briefing: Samantha Orobator, http://www.reprieve.org.uk/samanthaorobator, Aug. 7, 2009.
[28] The Canadian Bar Association, CBA International Development Program – Southeast Asia, http://www.cba.org/CBA/idp/programs/PrintHTML.aspx?DocId=5025, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
[29] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[30] Embassy of the United States: Vientiane: Laos, Legal Assistance: Attorneys in Laos, http://laos.usembassy.gov/attorneys.html, revised Dec. 2009, last accessed Nov. 16, 2010.
[31] United Nations Development Program, Enhancing Access to Justice through Lao Bar Association (Phase II), http://www.undplao.org/whatwedo/factsheets/democratic/2010/2010-06_LBA_Fact%20Sheet%202010_final.pdf, Jun. 2010.
[32] Amnesty Intl., Concern Grows for British Woman Held in Laos, http://www.amnesty.org/en/news-and-updates/news/concern-grows-british-woman-held-laos-20090506, May 5, 2009.
[33] Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Law on Criminal Procedure, art. 8, Law No. 01/NA, May 15, 2004.
[34] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[35] Reprieve, New litigation filed on behalf of Samantha Orobator, http://www.reprieve.org.uk/2009_08_26reprievebindmansorobatorpressrelease, Aug. 26, 2009.
[36] Reprieve, Case Briefing: Samantha Orobator, http://www.reprieve.org.uk/samanthaorobator, Aug. 7, 2009.
[37] Esther Addley, Ministers condemned for imprisoning pregnant woman after ‘sham trial’ in Laos, The Guardian, http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/aug/07/pregnant-woman-trial-prison-laos, Aug. 7, 2009.
[38] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[39] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[40] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Laos, Denial of Fair Public Trial, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/eap/135997.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[41] United Nations Development Program, Enhancing Access to Justice through Lao Bar Association (Phase II), http://www.undplao.org/whatwedo/factsheets/democratic/2010/2010-06_LBA_Fact%20Sheet%202010_final.pdf, Jun. 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

The Secretary-General registered Laos’ accession to the ICCPR on September 25, 2009. [1] The Human Rights Committee has not yet issued Concluding Observations on the state of human rights in Laos.

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In the 15th session of the Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review, member nations recommended that Laos conform its law to its international obligations, ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, establish a formal, de jure moratorium on executions and the imposition of the death penalty and commute all death sentences. [2] Laos responded positively to the recommendation that it conform its law to its international obligations, emphasizing its partnership with organizations in pursuing a Master Plan on the Development of a Rule of Law State. [3] Laos rejected recommendations that it abolish the death penalty or institute a formal moratorium on its implementation and execution, while stating that it would review its laws with a view towards conformity to the ICCPR’s Article 6 restriction of the death penalty to the most serious offenses. [4]

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. 20, 2010.
[2] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, para. 98(1-3, 11, 17-20), U.N. Doc. A/HRC/15/5, June 15, 2010.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report on the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Addendum, Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review, paras. 4-6, U.N. Doc A/HRC/15/5/Add.1, Sep. 14, 2010.
[4] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report on the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Addendum, Views on conclusions and/or recommendations, voluntary commitments and replies presented by the State under review, para. 18, U.N. Doc A/HRC/15/5/Add.1, Sep. 14, 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

Reprieve
PO Box 72054
London EC3P 3BZ
United Kingdom
Tel 020 7553 8140
Fax 020 7553 8189
info@reprieve.org.uk
http://www.reprieve.org.uk

Helpful Reports and Publications

None.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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