Death Penalty Database

Palestinian Authority

Information current as of: April 4, 2011

General

Official Country Name

Palestinian Authority (Palestine, Palestinian National Authority, Occupied Palestinian Territories). [1]

Geographical Region

Asia (Western Asia). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Retentionist. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]

Shooting.
(firing squad). [5]

Comments.
According to Nutzworld website [6] two methods of execution are currently applied in Palestine, namely hanging and firing squad. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, from 2006 through 2010 five death sentences were carried out, [7] of which two by firing squad [8] and three by hanging. [9] This seems to confirm the Nutzworld website information.

References

[1] European Commission, Occupied Palestinian Territories, http://ec.europa.eu/trade/creating-opportunities/bilateral-relations/countries/palestine/, last accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
[2] U.N. World Macro Regions and Components, U.N. Doc. ST/ESA/STAT/SER.R/29, 2000.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[4] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR Condemns Gaza Government’s Execution of Three Palestinians, Doc. No. 36/2010, May 18, 2010.
[5] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR Strongly Condemns Execution of Two Prisoners by Gaza Government, Doc. No. 28/2010, Apr. 15, 2010.
[6] Nutzworld, Methods of Execution by Country, http://www.nutzworld.com/amerikaarticles/methods_of_execution_by_country.htm, last accessed Feb.15, 2011.
[7] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, p. 5, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[8] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR Strongly Condemns Execution of Two Prisoners by Gaza Government, Doc. No. 28/2010, Apr. 15, 2010.
[9] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR Condemns Gaza Government’s Execution of Three Palestinians, Doc. No. 36/2010, May 18, 2010.

Country Details

Language(s)

Arabic. [1]

Population

4,108,631. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

About 87. No information concerning the number of individuals currently under sentence of death was found. However, as an indicator, the number of death sentences issued under the Palestinian National Authority since its establishment and through October 2010 was 105, of which 18 had been carried out. [3]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

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

6. The executions were carried out in Gaza by the Hamas de facto administration. [4]

Executions in 2016

3. The executions were carried out in Gaza by the Hamas de facto administration. [5]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [6]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

Hamas, the de facto government in Gaza, has carried out 27 executions of alleged collaborators [7] Some executions were carried out after summary trials or no trials, so that a number of the executions could be characterized as extrajudicial. [8] For this reason, Amnesty International recorded 2 executions in Gaza for 2014. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

1 execution per 152,171 persons

Executions in 2013

3. The executions were carried out in Gaza by the Hamas de facto administration. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

1 execution per 4,108,631 persons

Executions in 2012

6. The executions were carried out in Gaza by the Hamas de facto administration. [11]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

1 execution per 684,772 persons

Executions in 2011

3. [12]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

1 execution per 1,369,544 persons

Executions in 2010

5 (by the Hamas de facto administration in Gaza). [13]

Executions in 2009

0. [14]

Executions in 2008

0. [15]

Executions in 2007

0. [16]

Year of Last Known Execution

2016. [17]

References

[1] The Amended Basic Law of 2003, art. 4, Mar. 18. 2003
[2] Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Number of Palestinian Population 2010, http://www.pcbs.gov.ps/DesktopModules/books/booksView.aspx?tabID=0&lang=en&ItemID=1&mid=11239, last accessed Feb. 01, 2011.
[3] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, p. 3, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[4] Amnesty International, Palestine: Hamas executes three civilians tried in Gaza military courts, https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/04/palestine-hamas-executes-three-civilians-tried-in-gaza-military-courts/, Apr. 6, 2017. AFP, Hamas executes three over commander’s murder, http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/hamas-executes-three-over-commanders-murder-629600106, May 25, 2017.
[5] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017. See Jack Moore, Hamas executes three convicted Palestinian murderers in Gaza Strip, http://www.newsweek.com/hamas-executes-three-convicted-palestinian-murderers-gaza-strip-464916, Newsweek, May 31, 2016.
[6] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[7] International Middle East Media Center, Gaza Government Executes 2 for Israeli Collaboration, http://www.imemc.org/article/67737, May 7, 2014. Human Rights Watch, Gaza : Halt Executions, http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/08/25/gaza-halt-executions, Aug. 25, 2014.
[8] Harriet Sherwood, Hamas executes 18 suspected informers, The Guardian, http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/aug/22/hamas-executes-suspected-infomers-gaza, Aug. 22, 2014. Human Rights Watch, Gaza : Halt Executions, http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/08/25/gaza-halt-executions, Aug. 25, 2014.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 50, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[12] 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.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[14] The Independent Commission for Human Rights, The Status of Human Rights in Palestine: Fifteenth Annual Report, p. 78, http://www.ichr.ps/pdfs/ICHR%20Report15%20-%20Final.pdf, last accessed Feb. 17, 2011; Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, p. 5, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[15] The Independent Commission for Human Rights, The Status of Human Rights in the Palestinian-controlled Territory: Fourteenth Annual Report, p. 58, http://www.ichr.ps/pdfs/eAR14.pdf, last accessed on Feb. 17, 2011;Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, p. 5, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[16] The Independent Commission for Human Rights, The Status of Human Rights in Palestine, 2007: Thirteenth Annual Report, p. 107, http://www.ichr.ps/pdfs/ear-13.pdf, last accessed Feb. 17, 2011; Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, p. 5, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[17] Jack Moore, Hamas executes three convicted Palestinian murderers in Gaza Strip, http://www.newsweek.com/hamas-executes-three-convicted-palestinian-murderers-gaza-strip-464916, Newsweek, May 31, 2016.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder.
Aggravated murder is punishable by death under three laws applied in the Occupied Palestinian Territories: the Jordanian Penal Code, [1] the Revolutionary Penal Code of the PLO, [2] and the Palestinian Penal Code of 1936. [3]

Murder.
Murder is punishable by death under the Jordanian Penal Code [4] and the Revolutionary Penal Code. [5]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death.
Under the various Codes, one can be sentenced to death for a felony resulting in death if he causes the death of the victim or if his role in the crime leads to the death of the victim. It is a defense to show lack of common murderous intent. [6] Other offenses punishable by death when resulting in death include vandalism, [7] sedition and disobedience, [8] medical violations, [9] or violence. [10]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death.
Terrorism-related offenses resulting in death are punishable by death under the Jordanian and PLO Codes. Such offenses include: (i) offenses that caused the death of someone, (ii) if the act led to demolition of a building, where people where in that building; or (iii) if the act was committed using explosives, inflammable materials, toxic products, epidemiological, biological, chemical, or radioactive materials. [11] Note the description of banditry below, for which the death penalty may also apply when resulting in death.

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Terrorism-related offenses not resulting in death are punishable by death under the Jordanian and PLO Codes. For example, a group of three or more people, who roam the highways and rural areas and form armed gangs, where they loot passengers and infringe persons or properties, commit any other act of Banditry, or any act that results in the death of someone. [12]

Treason.
Treason is punishable by death under all three of the codes in use in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. [13] Sedition or disobedience, stealing or selling weapons intended for the defense, damaging military assets, and assault on the government are punishable by death. [14] Some treasonable economic crimes are punishable by death under the Palestinian Penal Code of 1936. [15] Article 81 in the Law mentioned above (as amended in 1957) applies the death penalty to individuals who intentionally breach defense contracts during time of war, or who commit fraud affecting contracts for the defense.

Espionage.
Espionage is punishable by death under all three of the codes in use in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. [16]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death.
Military offenses punishable by death include disguise, sedition, disobedience, surrendering to the enemy, acts resulting in civil war, or threat or assault on the president’s or a foreign dignitary’s life. [17]

Comments.
Three separate penal codes are in application in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.

This is due to the history of multi-government administration in the Territories. From 1917 to 1948, the British Mandate brought the British Mandate Penal Code of 1936 (also known as the Palestinian Penal Code of 1936) to the Gaza. Subsequent Egyptian administration in the Gaza left that law intact. The Jordanian administration of the West Bank led to the application of the Jordanian Penal Code of 1960 in the West Bank. Finally, the military courts apply the Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestinian Liberation Organization of 1979, and this Code is in force in both the West Bank and the Gaza. The constitutionality of the 1979 Code is debated, because it was never approved by the Palestinian Legislative Council as it should have been. [18]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

Yes. There are reportedly safeguards in place which can reduce the number of death sentences that are actually executed. Of the reported safeguards, only two are strictly relevant to the judicial process. Safeguards protecting the presumption of innocence, the right to a defense and an attorney, and the protection against ex post facto laws do not specifically address the mandatory death penalty. The unanimity requirement for capital sentencing—the panel of judges must unanimously vote for the death penalty for one to be applied—is of more relevance. [19] However, this does not mean that the death penalty is not mandatory, because what really matters is whether each judge is applying legal criteria that allow him to exercise discretion in making his vote. If judges all follow the principle that a murder conviction mandates a death sentence, the fact that they vote is not of much meaning in determining whether the death penalty is mandatory, because they are only voting on guilt. Whether the death penalty is mandatory is determined by whether the sentencing judges have the legal power to exercise independent discretion in determining the sentence for an offense—after conviction for the offense. If reduced penalties are the prerogative of the executive, or—in cases such as murder—the victim’s family, or depend on limited mitigation or exclusions such as for provocation, youth, or the like, then the death penalty is considered mandatory because the judiciary has no independent discretion to pronounce a lesser sentence if it is appropriate.

The law we researched prescribed the mandatory death penalty. For example, article 328 of the Jordanian Penal Code of 1960 states that the sentence for aggravated murder is death, when all required evidence is shown (note that the amended code operational in Jordan is significantly different from this older code). There is no alternative sentence. We did not find universal provisions that allow judges to exercise discretion widely, once guilt is determined. [20]

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

Aggravated Murder. [21]

Murder. [22]

Other Offenses Resulting in Death. [23]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Resulting in Death. [24]

Terrorism-Related Offenses Not Resulting in Death. [25]

Treason. [26]

Espionage. [27]

Military Offenses Not Resulting in Death. [28]

Comments.
We did not find provisions permitting discretionary sentencing, but they might exist.

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

Aggravated Murder.
On May 18, 2010, one man (out of four participants) was executed for participating in the rape and murder of a child. [29]

Murder.
On May 18, 2010, two men were executed for murder. [30]

Treason.
On April 15, 2010, two men were executed for collaboration—they had been convicted of treason and involvement in killing. [31]

Comments.
In 2008 and 2009 no executions took place in the West Bank and Gaza. [32] We categorized execution for the rape and murder of a child as an execution for aggravated murder, but the circumstances of the offense were unclear. [33]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
“Children” are excluded from application of the death penalty, although our source does not define the age at which an individual becomes eligible for the death penalty. [34] Palestine is a party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, [35] which provides in Article 7(1) that “[s]entence of death shall not be imposed on persons under 18 years of age, unless otherwise stipulated in the laws in force at the time of the commission of the crime.” [36] Recently, a trial court recognized an exclusion for an offender (17 years old) due to youth, but an appeals court aggravated his sentence to the death penalty, which was confirmed on cassation. [37]

Pregnant Women.
Palestine is a party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, [38] which provides in Article 7(2) that “[t]he death penalty shall not be inflicted on a pregnant woman prior to her delivery or on a nursing mother within two years from the date of her delivery; in all cases, the best interests of the infant shall be the primary consideration.” [39] There is some potential for geographical discrimination regarding this exclusion. Under the Jordanian Penal Code (West Bank), a woman who becomes pregnant, even after sentencing, will have her sentence commuted to life. Under the Palestinian Penal Code (Gaza), under limited circumstances a woman proven to be pregnant at the time of sentencing will be sentenced to life imprisonment instead of death. Under the Code of Criminal Procedure (2001) applicable in both regions, any woman’s execution is stayed while she is pregnant, and if she gives birth to a live child, her sentence is commuted to life imprisonment. Finally, the Revolutionary Code (military courts) provides for a stay of execution during pregnancy. Under civilian law, protection is equally guaranteed only if the woman gives birth to a live child—otherwise, the exclusion for women in Gaza is narrower. [40]

Women With Small Children.
Palestine is a party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights, [41] which provides in Article 7(2) that “[t]he death penalty shall not be inflicted on a pregnant woman prior to her delivery or on a nursing mother within two years from the date of her delivery; in all cases, the best interests of the infant shall be the primary consideration.” [42] Under the Penitentiaries and Rehabilitation Centers Law of 1998, a death sentence on a woman with a child was suspended until her child was two years old. This law has been modified (in 2005) to comply with the Criminal Procedure Code of 2001, such that women with small children will have their sentences commuted to life. [43]

Mentally Ill.
Article 14 of the Palestinian Penal Code of 1936 stipulates that “if the accused one is unable to understand his actions or he is unable to be aware that it is prohibited to commit that act or omission due to an imbalance in the mind, then he is relieved from the capital punishment.” [44] There is a similar exclusion under the Jordanian penal code. This could also affect intellectually disabled individuals. [45]

References

[1] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, art. 328(1), Jan. 01, 1960.
[2] The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 378(a), (c), Jan. 01, 1979.
[3] The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, art. 215, Jan. 01, 1936.
[4] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 328(2), (3), 368-369, Jan. 01, 1960.
[5] The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 378(b), Jan. 01, 1979.
[6] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 328-339, 372-373, Jan. 01, 1960; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, arts. 23-27, Jan. 01, 1936; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 417-418, Jan. 01, 1979.
[7] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 376-381, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 421-425, Jan. 01, 1979.
[8] The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 200, Jan. 01, 1979.
[9] The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 429, Jan. 01, 1979.
[10] The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 442, Jan. 01, 1979.
[11] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, art. 148(4), 149(2), Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 175(c), Jan. 01, 1979.
[12] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, art. 158(3), Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 176(a), Jan. 01, 1979.
[13] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 110(1), 111-113, 120, 124, 135 (1), (2); 136; & 139, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 130, 134, 136 (a), (b), 137-140 (a), 141, 143, 146, 170 & 204 (d), Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, arts. 49 (1), 50, 77 (a), 80 & 83 (a), Jan. 01, 1936.
[14] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 137 (2) and 138-139, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 199 & 230 (a) (1)-(3), Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, art. 78(e), Jan. 01, 1936.
[15] The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, art. 81, Jan. 01, 1936.
[16] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 125 (2), 126 (2), 137 (1) & 139, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 131-132, 140 (b), (c), 144-145, 147-150, Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, arts. 49 (2) & 77 (b) (c), Jan. 01, 1936.
[17] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, art. 142, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 152-153, 165-170 & 213, Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, arts. 78 (a)-(c), Jan. 01, 1936.
[18] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, p. 5, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[19] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, p 7-9, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011.
[20] Saleem Halteh & Julie Vautard, Leader Organization, Memo for DPW, DPW Doc. Palestine Memo-1, Mar. 7, 2011.
[21] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, art. 328(1), Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 378(a), (c), Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, art. 215, Jan. 01, 1936.
[22] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 328(2), (3), 368-369, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 378(b), Jan. 01, 1979.
[23] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 328-339, 372-373, Jan. 01, 1960; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, arts. 23-27, Jan. 01, 1936; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 417-418, Jan. 01, 1979; Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 376-381, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 421-425, Jan. 01, 1979; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 200, Jan. 01, 1979; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 429, Jan. 01, 1979; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 442, Jan. 01, 1979.
[24] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, art. 148(4), 149(2), Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 175(c), Jan. 01, 1979.
[25] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, art. 158(3), Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, art. 176(a), Jan. 01, 1979.
[26] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 110(1), 111-113, 120, 124, 135 (1), (2); 136; & 139, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 130, 134, 136 (a), (b), 137-140 (a), 141, 143, 146, 170 & 204 (d), Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, arts. 49 (1), 50, 77 (a), 80 & 83 (a), Jan. 01, 1936; Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 137 (2) and 138-139, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 199 & 230 (a) (1)-(3), Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, art. 78(e), Jan. 01, 1936; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, art. 81, Jan. 01, 1936.
[27] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, arts. 125 (2), 126 (2), 137 (1) & 139, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 131-132, 140 (b), (c), 144-145, 147-150, Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, arts. 49 (2) & 77 (b) (c), Jan. 01, 1936.
[28] Jordanian Penal Code No.16 of 1960, art. 142, Jan. 01, 1960; The Revolutionary Penal Code of the Palestine Liberation Organization of 1979, arts. 152-153, 165-170 & 213, Jan. 01, 1979; The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, arts. 78 (a)-(c), Jan. 01, 1936.
[29] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR Condemns Gaza Government’s Execution of Three Palestinians, Doc. No. 36/2010, May 18, 2010; Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza Court Upholds 4 Death Sentences: PCHR Calls upon Palestinian President to Act, and for Abolition of Death Penalty in Palestinian Law, Doc. No. 95/2008, Oct. 29, 2008.
[30] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR Condemns Gaza Government’s Execution
[31] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR Strongly Condemns Execution of Two Prisoners by Gaza Government, Doc. No. 28/2010, Apr. 15, 2010.
[32] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, p. 5, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[33] Saleem Halteh & Julie Vautard, Leader Organization, Memo for DPW, DPW Doc. Palestine Memo-1, Mar. 7, 2011. Circumstances that could be relevant might include whether the offender had premeditated the murder, or shared a murderous intent, or played a significant role in the killing of the child (as opposed to the rape itself).
[34] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, ch.1, p 7, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011.
[35] Arableagueonline, Ratification of Arab Human Rights Charter Adopted in 23/5/2004 summit (16th) Res 270, http://www.arableagueonline.org/lasimages/picture_gallery/human8-3-2010.PDF, last accessed Feb. 17, 2011.
[36] Arab Charter on Human Rights, art. 7, May 22, 2004.
[37] Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza Court Upholds 4 Death Sentences: PCHR Calls upon Palestinian President to Act, and for Abolition of Death Penalty in Palestinian Law, Doc. No. 95/2008, Oct. 29, 2008; Mel Frykberg, Death Penalty in Palestinian Territories Alarms Rights Groups, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45204, Dec. 23, 2008.
[38] Arableagueonline, Ratification of Arab Human Rights Charter Adopted in 23/5/2004 summit (16th) Res 270, http://www.arableagueonline.org/lasimages/picture_gallery/human8-3-2010.PDF, last accessed Feb. 17, 2011.
[39] Arab Charter on Human Rights, art. 7, May 22, 2004.
[40] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, ch.2, p. 9, 11, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011; Saleem Halteh & Julie Vautard, Leader Organization, Memo for DPW, DPW Doc. Palestine Memo-1, Mar. 7, 2011.
[41] Arableagueonline, Ratification of Arab Human Rights Charter Adopted in 23/5/2004 summit (16th) Res 270, http://www.arableagueonline.org/lasimages/picture_gallery/human8-3-2010.PDF, last accessed Feb. 17, 2011.
[42] Arab Charter on Human Rights, art. 7, May 22, 2004.
[43] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, ch.2, p. 9, 11, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011; Saleem Halteh & Julie Vautard, Leader Organization, Memo for DPW, DPW Doc. Palestine Memo-1, Mar. 7, 2011.
[44] The Palestinian Penal Code of 1936, art. 14, Jan. 01, 1936.
[45] Saleem Halteh & Julie Vautard, Leader Organization, Memo for DPW, DPW Doc. Palestine Memo-1, Mar. 7, 2011.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Not Applicable. The Palestinian Territories are not a recognized State and cannot become a party to the ICCPR at this time.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable. The Palestinian Territories are not a recognized State and cannot become a signatory to the ICCPR at this time.

Date of Signature

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

Party?

Not Applicable. The Palestinian Territories are not a recognized State and cannot become a party to the ICCPR or its Protocols at this time.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable. The Palestinian Territories are not a recognized State and cannot become a signatory to the ICCPR or its Protocols at this time.

Date of Signature

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

Party?

Not Applicable. The Palestinian Territories are not a recognized State and cannot become a party to the ICCPR or its Protocols at this time.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable. The Palestinian Territories are not a recognized State and cannot become a signatory to the ICCPR or its Protocols at this time.

Date of Signature

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?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

November 28, 2007. [2]

Signed?

Yes. [3]

Date of Signature

July 15, 2004. [4]

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable.

Vote

Not Applicable.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable.

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable.

Vote

Not Applicable.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable.

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable.

Vote

Not Applicable.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable.

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable.

Vote

Not Applicable.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable.

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable.

Vote

Not Applicable.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable.

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

Not Applicable.

Vote

Not Applicable.

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Not Applicable.

References

[1] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[2] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[3] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.
[4] Arab League, Statement of Signatures and Ratifications of the Arab Charter of Human Rights, http://www.lasportal.org/wps/wcm/connect/498481804a04776ea1d7bd526698d42c/%D8%AC%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%AA%D8%B5%D8%AF%D9%8A%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84+%D8%B9%D9%84%D9%89+%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%85%D9%8A%D8%AB%D8%A7%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A8%D9%8A+%D9%84%D8%AD%D9%82%D9%88%D9%82+%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%A5%D9%86%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%86.pdf?MOD=AJPERES (translated from Arabic by DPW), last accessed Apr. 7, 2014.

Death Penalty In Law

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

The Amended Basic Law of 2003 and the Basic Law of 2005 A.D. Concerning the Amendment, some of the Provisions of the Amended Basic Law of 2003 constitute the legal texts having the value of a Constitution in Palestine. [1] The Basic Law of Palestine references capital punishment when it stipulates that “[a] death sentence pronounced by any court may not be implemented unless endorsed by the President of the Palestinian National Authority.” [2]

That Basic Law is the temporary Constitution for the Palestinian National Authority until the establishment of a permanent State with a permanent Constitution. A permanent draft of a Consititution has been written and dated of the May 4, 2003. [3] In the third Draft Constitution for a Palestinian State, Article 25 guarantees that “the right to life is safeguarded and to be protected by law,” without providing for any exceptions, implying that capital punishment could be unconstitutional.

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

The Basic Law of Palestine might implicitly recognize the supremacy of international law or human rights agreements. Article 10(1) stipulates that “[b]asic human rights and liberties shall be protected and respected,” and Article 10(2) immediately follows with “[t]he Palestinian National Authority shall work without delay to become a party to regional and international declarations and covenants that protect human rights.” [4] It is important to note that the Basic Law emphasizes the special importance of international human rights protections in Article 10—this is the only provision addressing the relevance of international law. [5] Although Palestine is not universally recognized as a State and thus cannot become a party to international human rights agreements, Article 10 compels the government to recognize the existence and legal validity of the rights they protect. Finally, the Basic Law of Palestine provides in Article 31 for the establishment of an Independent Commission for Human Rights. [6] This commission advocates for human rights protections and reports on violations.

The third Draft Constitution [7] for a Palestinian State references international human rights agreements and international human rights standards. Article 18 states that “[t]he state of Palestine shall abide by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and shall seek to join other international covenants and charters that safeguard human rights.”

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

When looking at the numbers of death sentences issued and the number of death sentences carried out in Palestine for the last years some changes can be observed. [8] In 2005, the number of death sentences that were imposed was one of the highest (16) since the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority in 1994. The number of capital sentences decreased progressively over the following years, to such an extent that there were no death sentences issued in 2006 and 2007 in Palestine. However, the last three years have witnessed a resurgence in death sentences, and in 2009 a record number (17) [9] of death sentences were imposed. Regarding the number of death sentences that have been carried out in Palestine, after 2005 (when 5 death sentences were carried out), there were no executions at all for four years (from 2006 to 2009). In 2010, however, 5 executions occurred—all of them in the Gaza Strip.

A disturbing change that raises grave concerns about the government’s respect for law involves the requirement that no death sentence be carried out without the ratification of the President of the Palestinian National Authority. The Basic Law of 2003, [10] Palestinian Criminal Procedure Code of 2001 and the Military Criminal Procedure Code of 1979 [11] provide that executions cannot be carried out without presidential approval. The President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has not ratified any death sentences since 2005. [12] As a consequence, no executions should have been carried out since then. However, five executions were carried out in the Gaza Strip in 2010. Hamas justified these executions on the grounds that the presidential term of office expired on January 9, 2009 and the presidential office was therefore vacant, thus the Council of Ministers could exercise presidential power under Article 46 of the Constitution. [13] This explanation is not supported by law, given that the Council of Ministers is a body appointed to implement programs approved by the legislative branch, and is prohibited from exercising the President’s executive powers. [14] The executions that occurred in 2010 were therefore illegal and evidenced a lack of respect for Palestine’s constitutional structure.

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

There is no official moratorium on executions within the country. However, according to the article 109 of the Amended Basic Law of 2003, [15] the Palestinian Criminal Procedure Code of 2001 and the Military Criminal Procedure Code of 1979, [16] the President of the Palestinian National Authority must ratify any death sentence before it can be carried out. The President of the Palestinian National Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, has not ratified any death sentences since 2005, which has led to a de facto moratorium in the West Bank since 2006. However, due to the special context of the Palestinian National Authority and the separation between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, five death sentences were carried out in 2010 by the de facto Gaza government. [17]

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

We did not find this information during our research.

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

There is no official website where one can locate or access judicial decisions regarding the death penalty. However, reports of judicial decisions regarding the death penalty can be located through Human Rights Organizations or through the law faculties’ websites (Birzeit University).

1. http://muqtafi.birzeit.edu/
2. http://www.ichr.ps/
3. http://www.pchrgaza.org/

What is the clemency process?

Article 109 of the Amended Basic Law of 2003 [18] states that “A death sentence pronounced by any court may not be implemented unless endorsed by the President of the Palestinian National Authority.” Additionally, only the President of the Palestinian National Authority is authorized to pardon or commute sentences related to the death penalty. As set forth in Article (42) of the Basic Law,51 general amnesties or pardon for crimes can be granted only by law. Moreover, the Palestinian Criminal Procedure Code of 2001 and the Military Criminal Procedure Code of 1979 also provide for the approval of the President before any death sentence can be carried out. Additionally, the Palestinian Criminal Procedure Code of 2001 and the Military Criminal Procedure code of 1979 give the President the prerogative to pardon or commute the sentence (and, under the military code, to order a new trial). [19]

In 2010, the de facto government in Gaza carried out executions in breach of this legally mandated process. [20] We have not, however, received reports indicating that this will become policy.

One report by Agency France Presse conveys a statement of the de facto Gaza government that, prior to its illegal May 18, 2010 executions of three individuals convicted of murder, it “granted” the family members of the victims the opportunity to accept a blood money payment. [21] In-county experts found it impossible to confirm that the offenders and family members of victims actually had this opportunity to reach a settlement and avoid an execution. [22]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

In the Palestinian territories, individuals facing capital charges are tried before the President of the Court, the Vice President and three judges of the High Court. There is no jury. [23]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

In the Palestinian territories, appeals are mandatory for individuals sentenced to death. As stipulated in Articles 250 and 327 of the Palestinian National Authority Criminal Procedure Law No. 3 of 2001, all death sentences must be appealed. In addition, it stipulates that cassation of appeal decisions must occur regardless of the request of the accused party. [24]

References

[1] The Amended Basic Law of 2003 states in its introduction that “Within the framework of the interim period, resulting in the Declaration of Principles Agreement, the establishment of the Palestinian National Authority with its three pillars – the legislative, executive and judicial branches – became among the most urgent of national missions. The establishment of the Palestinian Legislative Council, through free and direct general elections, made the adoption of a Basic Law suitable for the interim period a necessary foundation upon which to organize the mutual relationship between the government and the people.” The Amended Basic Law of 2003 of Palestine, Introduction, Mar. 18, 2003. Article 115 states that “[t]he provisions of this Basic Law shall apply during the interim period and may be extended until the entry into force of the new Constitution of the State of Palestine.” The Amended Basic Law of 2003 of Palestine, art. 115, Mar. 18, 2003.
[2] The Amended Basic Law of 2003 of Palestine, art. 109, Mar. 18, 2003.
[3] 2003 Permanent Constitution draft, http://www.palestinianbasiclaw.org/2003-permanent-constitution-draft, last accessed on Feb. 20, 2011.
[4] The Amended Basic Law of 2003 of Palestine, art. 10, Mar. 18, 2003.
[5] The Amended Basic Law of 2003 of Palestine, Mar. 18, 2003.
[6] The Amended Basic Law of 2003 of Palestine, art. 31, Mar. 18, 2003.
[7] 2003 Permanent Constitution draft, http://www.palestinianbasiclaw.org/2003-permanent-constitution-draft, last accessed on Feb. 20, 2011.
[8] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, p. 5, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[9] Palestinian center for Human Rights, PCHR Annual report 2009, p. 113, Jun. 3, 2010.
[10] The Amended Basic Law, art. 109, Mar. 18, 2003.
[11] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, ch.2, pp. 9-10, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011.
[12] Lawyer Raji Sourani director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Letter to the President Mahmoud Abbas, para. 3, Palestinian Center for Human Rights, http://www.pchrgaza.org/files/2010/President%20Mahmoud%20Abbas-en.pdf, May 10, 2010.
[13] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, pp. 6-7, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[14] The Amended Basic Law, art. 46, 63, Mar. 18, 2003.
[15] The Amended Basic Law, art. 109, Mar. 18, 2003.
[16] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, ch.2, pp. 9-10, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011.
[17] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, pp. 5-7, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[18] The Amended Basic Law, art. 42 and 109, Mar. 18, 2003.
[19] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, ch.2, pp. 9-10, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011.
[20] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, pp. 6-7, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[21] Kuwait Times, Hamas “Executes Three Convicted Killers,” http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=NTYyOTgxNDQx, May 19, 2010; Hands Off Cain, Hamas “Executes Three Convicted Killers,” http://www.handsoffcain.info/news/index.php?iddocumento=13308252, May 18, 2010. The source for these reports is Agence France Presse, May 18, 2010.
[22] Saleem Halteh & Julie Vautard, Leader Organization, Memo for DPW, DPW Doc. Palestine Memo-1, Mar. 7, 2011.
[23] Ministry of Justice website, Courts’ Structure, http://www.moj.pna.ps/ar/index.php?pages=3_1, last accessed Feb. 21, 2011.
[24] Palestinian National Authority Criminal Procedure Law No. 3 of 2001, art. 327 & 250, May 12. 2001.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

We do not have a comprehensive list of locations where death-sentenced prisoners are held. At least one was held at Ansar Prison in Gaza prior to his execution. [1]

Description of Prison Conditions

According to the U.S. Department of State’s 2009 report (covering general prison conditions), Palestinian Authority prison conditions varied widely from location to location, and facilities were inadequate to serve the prison population because many destroyed prisons have not yet been repaired or replaced. Conditions were often poor, and medical care and other programs suffered due to inadequate space and resources. The PA allowed international monitoring. In Gaza, little information was available, although conditions were reportedly poor and fell short of international or humanitarian standards. [2]

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

We did not find reports that foreign nationals are held under sentence of death.

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

We did not find reports that foreign nationals are held under sentence of death.

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

We did not find reports that women are held under sentence of death.

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 October 29, 2008, the Gaza Court of Cassation confirmed 4 death sentences initially issued by the Court of Appeal on 13 April 2004. Among these 4 Palestinians, Sa’id Jameel Zuhod was 17 years old at the time of the crime (participation in the rape and murder of a child) he committed. He was initially condemned in first instance to imprisonment for life due to his age, but this sentence was changed to a sentence to death by the appeal court. [3]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

No material was found regarding racial or ethnic composition on death rows in the Palestinian territories.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

The Basic Law of 2003 in Article 14 stipulates that “Any person accused in a criminal case shall be represented by a lawyer.” [4] The Palestinian National Authority Criminal Procedure Law No. 3 of 2001 in Article 244 stipulates that the court asks the accused whether he already assigned a lawyer. If he does not have one because of his financial situation, the President of the Court will assign one. [5] In practice, there were no cases where the accused person did not have a lawyer. [6]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

The Basic Law of 2003 in Article 14 stipulates that “Any person accused in a criminal case shall be represented by a lawyer.” [7] The Palestinian National Authority Criminal Procedure Law No. 3 of 2001 in Article 244 stipulates that the court asks the accused whether he already assigned a lawyer. If he does not have one because of his financial situation, the President of the Court will assign one. [8] In practice, there were no cases where the accused person did not have a lawyer. [9]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

We found no information on the quality of legal representation.

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Despite all of the guarantees and safeguards for issuing death sentences, there are some major procedural problems that remain. One major problem is the lack of fair trial at military and state security courts—and these courts have issued a large number of death sentences. [10]

In 2010, Philip Alston, special rapporteur for extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, addressed the trial of a civilian by a military court in Gaza. The individual was detained and tortured until he confessed to unspecified offenses, and convicted of “collaboration” despite an apparent failure of the government to specify which alleged actions formed the basis of such a charge. His appeal lies to the Head of the Militant Judiciary “in his personal capacity,” although the military is the institution responsible for these violations in the first place. When asked about these violations, the impartiality of the judiciary, or to explain what assurance this individual had that his appeal would be properly considered, the special rapporteur received no reply. [11]

In 2005, Mr. Alston had raised issues with President Abbas over the application of the death penalty under his authority for collaboration, expressing concern over unfair trials by military courts. These trials were essentially “field trials” at which the accused was given no real chance to prepare or offer a defense, and there was no appeals process—execution of the sentence being subject to nothing more than the ratification of the sentence by the President, which could occur without warning or reason. The Palestinian Authority gave no response. [12]

Finally, as an artifact of administration of the law by three separate regimes (the British Mandate, Egypt and Jordan) in different areas of the Occupied Territories, the promulgation of the Revolutionary Penal Code by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (administered as the military law), and inconsistency in the current administration of the law among the Territories, individuals in the Territories face law that may be inconsistent from one region to another. This may result in discrimination, confusion, and inequality. [13]

References

[1] Palestinian Center for Human Rights, PCHR Strongly Condemns Execution of Two Prisoners by Gaza Government, Doc. No. 28/2010, Apr. 15, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Israel and the Occupied Territories, Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/nea/136070.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[3] Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, Gaza Court Upholds 4 Death Sentences: PCHR Calls upon Palestinian President to Act, and for Abolition of Death Penalty in Palestinian Law, Doc. No. 95/2008, Oct. 29, 2008; Mel Frykberg, Death Penalty in Palestinian Territories Alarms Rights Groups, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=45204, Dec. 23, 2008.
[4] The Amended Basic Law of 2003 of Palestine, art. 14, Mar. 18, 2003.
[5] Palestinian National Authority Criminal Procedure Law No. 3 of 2001, art 244, May 12, 2001.
[6] Saleem Halteh & Julie Vautard, Leader Organization, Memo for DPW, DPW Doc. Palestine Memo-1, Mar. 7, 2011.
[7] The Amended Basic Law of 2003 of Palestine, art. 14, Mar. 18, 2003.
[8] Palestinian National Authority Criminal Procedure Law No. 3 of 2001, art 244, May 12, 2001.
[9] Saleem Halteh & Julie Vautard, Leader Organization, Memo for DPW, DPW Doc. Palestine Memo-1, Mar. 7, 2011.
[10] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, ch.4, p. 13, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011; Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.
[11] U.N.G.A., Human Rights Council, Report of the Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions, Philip Alston, Addendum, p. 196-202, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/14/24/Add.1, Jun. 18, 2010.
[12] U.N. ESC, Commission on Human Rights, Civil and Political Rights, Including the Question of Disappearances and Summary Executions—Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions: Report of the Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, Addendum, p. 321-322, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.1, Mar. 27, 2006.
[13] Advocate Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, The Independent Commission for Human Rights, Legal Report Series No. 72, last accessed Feb. 20, 2011; Palestinian Center for Human Rights, Position Paper: Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

Palestine is not recognized as a state and thus cannot be a party to the ICCPR.

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

Palestine is not recognized as a state and thus is not party to international treaty bodies, although regionally it is party to the Arab Charter on Human Rights. Still, there are a number of charter based observations that are relevant to the death penalty in Palestine. (These documents can be accessed at http://www.un.org/en/documents/index.shtml by using their reference codes.)
Ref: E/CN.4/1997/60/Add.1 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on the extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: Country situations, Dec 23, 1996;
Ref: E/CN.4/1998/68/Add.1 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. Country situations – Dec. 19, 1997;
Ref: E/CN.4/1998/68 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions – Dec. 23, 1997;
Ref: E/CN.4/1999/39 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Jan. 6, 1999;
Ref: E/CN.4/1999/39/Add.1- Report of the Special Rapporteur on the extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions: country situations, Jan. 6, 1999.
Ref: E/CN.4/2000/3/Add.1 - Extrajudicial and summary executions - Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received – Feb. 02, 2000;
Ref: E/CN.4/2000/3 - Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions - Report of the special rapporteur – Jan. 25, 2000;
Ref: E/CN.4/2001/9/Add.1 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions – Jan. 17, 2001;
Ref: E/CN.4/2002/74 - Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions - Report of the Special Rapporteur – Jan. 9, 2002;
Ref: E/CN.4/2002/74/Add.2 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary, or arbitrary executions - Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received, May 8, 2002;
Ref: E/CN.4/2003/3/Add.1 - Summary or arbitrary executions - Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, Feb. 12, 2003;
Ref: E/CN.4/2004/7/Add.1 - Report of the Special Rapporteur, on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions - Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received, Mar. 24, 2004;
Ref: E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.1 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston - Summary of cases transmitted to Governments and replies received, Mar 27, 2006;
Ref: A/HRC/14/24/Add.1 - Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston - Addendum - Communications to and from Governments – Jun. 18, 2010.

Additional Sources and Contacts

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

Leaders Organization
Mr. Shadi Atshan, Executive Director
Mrs. Sophie Abu Soboh, Program Manager
3rd Floor, Al-Wa’ad Bldg., Al-Irsal Street
Ramallah, Palestine
Tel: +970 2 297 477
Fax: +970 2 297 477
leaders@leaders.ps
www.leaders.ps

Palestinian Center for Human Rights
Mr. Raji Al-Sourani, Director
29 Omar El Mukhtar Street, Near Amal Hotel
PO BOX 1328, Gaza City
Tel: +972 8 282 47 76
Fax: +972 8 282 58 93
pchr@pchrgaza.org
http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en

SHAMS (Human Rights and Democracy Media Center)
Mr. Omar Rahal, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Al-Masyoun Luis Favro ST, Sendian 3 Building, 1st floor
00970 Ramallah
Palestine
Tel: +972 2 2985254/+972 2 2985255
info@shams-pal.org
c_shams@hotmail.com
www.shams-pal.org

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

Maan Shihda Ideis, Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System: A Legal Review, The Intl. Day for the Abolition of the Death Penalty, http://www.ichr.ps/pdfs/Legal%20review%20of%20death%20penalty%20-%20English.pdf, last accessed Nov. 16, 2011.

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights, The Death Penalty under the Palestinian National Authority, http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=7067%3Aposition-paper-death-penalty-under-the-palestinian-national-authority&catid=62%3Apchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210, Oct. 10, 2010.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’s Annual Reports can be found at: http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=40&Itemid=172.

The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’s periodical articles on the Death Penalty can be found at: http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&id=62:pchrdeathpenalty&Itemid=210.

Independant Commission for Human Rights, The Death Penalty in the Palestinian Legal System A Legal review, http://www.ichr.ps/etemplate.php?id=38, 2010.

The Independent Commission for Human Rights’s Annual Reports on the status of Human Rights in Palestine can be found at: http://www.ichr.ps/etemplate.php?id=15.

Additional notes regarding this country

Special thanks to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights for helping us coordinate with the Leader Organization, a Palestinian student-based NGO at Birzeit University, who rendered extensive assistance in research and analysis and in authoring this questionnaire.

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