Death Penalty Database

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Information current as of: July 30, 2010

General

Official Country Name

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. [1]

Geographical Region

Latin America (Caribbean). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2345.htm, Apr. 12, 2010.
[2] U.N., World Macro Regions and Components, http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/maplib/worldregions.htm, 2000.
[3] Peter Richards, St. Vincent: Proposed Constitution Facilitates Death Penalty, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48370, Sep. 8, 2009.
[4] Norman Thomas, Officials in St. Vincent Preparing the Gallows, Caribbean Net News, http://www.caribbeannetnews.com/2005/01/17/gallows.shtml, Jan. 17, 2005.

Country Details

Language(s)

English. [1]

Population

104,574. [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

3. Three people were reportedly under sentence of death in 2009. [3]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

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

0. [4]

Executions in 2016

0. [5]

Per capita execution rate in 2016

Executions in 2015

0. [6]

Per capita execution rate in 2015

0 executions.

Executions in 2014

0. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2014

0 executions

Executions in 2013

0. [8]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions

Executions in 2012

0. [9]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions

Executions in 2011

0. [10]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions

Executions in 2010

0. [11]

Executions in 2009

0. [12]

Executions in 2008

0. [13]

Executions in 2007

0. [14]

Year of Last Known Execution

1995. [15]

References

[1] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2345.htm, Apr. 12, 2010.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2345.htm, Apr. 12, 2010.
[3] Peter Richards, St. Vincent: Proposed Constitution Facilitates Death Penalty, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48370, Sep. 8, 2009; Mark Warren, The Death Penalty Worldwide: Estimated Death Row Populations, http://users.xplornet.com/%7Emwarren/global.htm, Mar. 30, 2010.
[4] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[5] Amnesty International, Death sentences and executions in 2016, ACT 50/5740/2017, Apr. 11, 2017.
[6] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2014, ACT 50/001/2015, Mar. 31, 2015.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2010, p. 5, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[13] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[14] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[15] Peter Richards, St. Vincent: Proposed Constitution Facilitates Death Penalty, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48370, Sep. 8, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Penalty News, ACT 53/01/95 6, Mar. 1995.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Aggravated Murder. [1]

Treason. [2]

Comments.
We did not find the statutory law.

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. [3]

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

There is no mandatory death penalty. [4]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

The last execution was in 1995. [5]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime. [6]

Pregnant Women.
While we have not located domestic law excluding pregnant women from the death penalty, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines has ratified the ICCPR and recognized the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee, so the execution of pregnant women should be prohibited. [7]

Mentally Ill.
"As a defence to crime it requires proof that at the time of committing the act, the party accused was labouring under such a defect of reason, from a disease of the mind, as not to know the nature and quality of the act he was doing, or if he did know it, that he did not know he was doing what was wrong." [8]

References

[1] Dec. 24, 2008; Peter Richards, St. Vincent: Proposed Constitution Facilitates Death Penalty, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48370, Sep. 8, 2009; Trimmingham v. The Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 32, Ct. of Appeal, 2004; Abraham v. The Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 12, Ct. of Appeal, 1996.
[2] The Death Penalty Project, Human Rights Litigation in the Caribbean, http://www.deathpenaltyproject.org/content_pages/30, last accessed Jan. 19, 2011.
[3] Spence v. The Queen & Hughes v. The Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 20 & Criminal Appeal No. 14, Ct. of Appeal, 1998 & 1997; affirmed by Hughes v. The Queen, Appeal No. 91 of 1991, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002;
[4] Spence v. The Queen & Hughes v. The Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 20 & Criminal Appeal No. 14, Ct. of Appeal, 1998 & 1997; affirmed by Hughes v. The Queen, Appeal No. 91 of 1991, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002;
[5] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[6] Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association, NGO Initial Report on Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Submitted to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, p. 6, http://www.unicef.org/lac/spbarbados/Legal/national/St.Vincent/Reporting/st.vincent_ngo_report.pdf , Jan. 2002; U.N.G.A. 44th Session, Conv. on the Rights of the Child, 1577 U.N.T.S. 3, Nov. 20, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-11&chapter=4&lang=en, accessed Jul. 9, 2010.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010; Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[8] Abraham v. The Queen, p. 2-3, Criminal Appeal No. 12, Ct. of Appeal, 1995.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

November 9, 1981. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

Yes. [4]

Date of Accession

November 9, 1981. [5]

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?

No. [9]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [10]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

Death Penalty Protocol to the ACHR

Party?

No. [11]

Date of Accession

Signed?

No. [12]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights (ACHPR)

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

2016 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No.

Vote

Against. [13]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [14]

2014 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [15]

Vote

Against. [16]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

No. [17]

2012 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [18]

Vote

Against. [19]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [20]

2010 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [21]

Vote

Against. [22]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [23]

2008 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [24]

Vote

Against. [25]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [26]

2007 Record of Votes on the UN General Assembly Moratorium Resolution

Cosponsor

No. [27]

Vote

Against. [28]

Signed the Note Verbale of Dissociation

Yes. [29]

References

[1] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[2] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[3] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-4&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[4] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[5] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 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 Jun. 10, 2010.
[7] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 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 Jun. 10, 2010.
[9] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[10] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[11] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals A-53: Prot. to the Amer. Conv. on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, Jun. 8, 1990, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic8.death%20penalty%20ratif.htm, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[12] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals A-53: Prot. to the Amer. Conv. on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty, Jun. 8, 1990, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic8.death%20penalty%20ratif.htm, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.
[13] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Promotion and protection of human rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 54-71 U.N. Doc. A/71/484/Add.2, Dec. 6, 2016.
[14] U.N.G.A., 71st Session, Note Verbale dated 7 September 2017, U.N. Doc. A/71/1047, Sep. 13, 2017.
[15] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 141, 144, U.N. Doc. A/69/488/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2014.
[16] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, 73rd Plenary Meeting, pp. 17-18, U.N. Doc. A/69/PV.73, Dec. 18, 2014.
[17] U.N.G.A., 69th Session, Note Verbale dated 28 July 2015, U.N. Doc. A/69/993, Jul. 29, 2015.
[18] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, paras. 95-96, U.N. Doc. A/67/457/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2012.
[19] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012.
[20] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013.
[21] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, p. 5, U.N. Doc. A/65/456/Add.2, Dec. 8, 2010.
[22] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010.
[23] U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011.
[24] U.N.G.A., 63rd session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, U.N. Doc. A/63/430/Add.2, Dec. 4, 2008.
[25] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[26] U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009.
[27] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Promotion and Protection of Human Rights: human rights questions, including alternative approaches for improving the effective enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms, pp. 3-4, U.N. Doc. A/62/439/Add.2, Dec. 5, 2007.
[28] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, 76th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16- 17, U.N. Doc. A/62/PV.76, Dec. 18, 2007.
[29] U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.

Death Penalty In Law

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

Yes. The Constitution disqualifies anyone under sentence of death from holding office. [1] The Constitution also describes the clemency process after a death sentence has been handed down. [2] The Constitution prohibits deprivation of the right to life except in execution of a lawful sentence of a court. [3]

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

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Constitution does not provide that international human rights treaties have legal effect or that international human rights law should affect a court’s interpretation of fundamental human rights. [4]

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

There have been no executions in recent years. This is due in part to two factors:

Under Pratt & Morgan v. Jamaica, [5] there is a presumption that individuals cannot be executed if they have spent more than five years on death row. [6] Partly because the appeals process in the Caribbean tends to take more than five years, [7] one effect of Pratt has been to limit the number of executions in the Caribbean. A recently proposed constitution would have limited the effect of the Pratt rule and potentially restored the country’s ability to carry out executions, [8] but citizens rejected that constitution in a public referendum. [9]

After Hughes & Spence v. The Queen in 2002, in which the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court sitting as the Court of Appeal held that the mandatory death penalty violates Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ Constitution, courts may be handing down fewer death sentences than in previous years. [10] Jurisprudence now limits application of the death penalty to “the worst of the worst” offenses. [11]

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

No. [12]

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

Significant changes in death penalty law in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines tend to develop through the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeals, a shared domestic court of final instance, and the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, the Commonwealth court of final appeal.

In Spence & Hughes v. The Queen, the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeals held that the mandatory death penalty is unconstitutionally arbitrary and that courts must consider the circumstances of the offense and the offender in determining an appropriate sentence. [13] The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council affirmed this ruling in Hughes v. The Queen. [14] In Wilson v. The Queen, the ECCA explained the demands of full consideration of the offense and offender accordingly:

“It is a mandatory requirement in murder cases for a Judge to take into account the personal and individual circumstances of the convicted person. The Judge must also take into account the nature and gravity of the offence; the character and record of the convicted person; the factors that might have influenced the conduct that caused the murder; the design and execution of the offence, and the possibility of reform and social re-adaptation of the convicted person. The death sentence should only be imposed in those exceptional cases where there is no reasonable prospect of reform and the object of punishment would not be achieved by any other means.” [15]

In Wilson v. The Queen, the defendant’s death sentence was overturned because of his past history of nonviolence, potential instability related to his relationship with the victim, and potential for reform. The decision in Wilson v. The Queen demands that the sentencing Judge “pay due regard” to every mitigating factor presented at trial. [16]

The JCPC has also continued to limit the application of the death penalty by requiring full consideration of the offense and offender. In Trimmingham v. The Queen, the ECCA upheld a death sentence against Trimmingham’s appeal, as the killing of an elderly man in the course of a robbery was particularly gruesome, [17] but the JCPC reversed that decision because, although the killing was cold-blooded, it was not “the worst of the worst.” The JCPC’s opinion questions whether the intelligence of the offender was fully considered in sentencing, and appears to accept the defense’s argument that even though the murder was gruesome and violent, the victim was not subject to torture or his body to prolonged humiliation after death. [18]

Another legal rule has been significant in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines—under Pratt & Morgan v. Jamaica, there is a presumption that prisoners who serve five years on death row must have their sentence commuted to life imprisonment, because five years spent waiting for execution constitutes “inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment.” [19]

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

The Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court website keeps records of decisions related to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, including decisions made by the Privy Council, at http://www.eccourts.org/judgments.html. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council posts decisions at: http://www.privy-council.org.uk/output/page1.asp.

What is the clemency process?

The prerogative of mercy essentially resides with a Minister after a non-binding review of a capital case by the Advisory Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy. A Minister appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the Prime Minister assures that trial judges submit written reports on capital cases and that other relevant reports and information are obtained; that Minister also presides over the Committee, which considers such reports and information to render advice to the Minister on whether to exercise the prerogative of mercy. The Minister is not bound by the recommendations of the Committee in determining whether to advise the Governor-General to exercise the prerogative of mercy. The Governor-General must act in accordance with the Minister’s direction. [20]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Jury trials are available at the High Court level for crimes carrying severe penalties, including capital crimes. [21]

Brief Description of Appellate Process

The judiciary consists of a High Court, with appeal to the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal and final appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. [22] Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is also party to the Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, so after exhausting domestic remedies, defendants may petition to the Human Rights Committee to seek remedies for alleged violations of their rights under the Convention. [23]

References

[1] Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines secs. 26(1)(g), 29(4)(a), No. 916 of 1979.
[2] Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines sec. 67(1), No. 916 of 1979.
[3] Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines sec. 2(1), No. 916 of 1979.
[4] Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, No. 916 of 1979.
[5] Pratt & Morgan v. Jamaica, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993.
[6] Peter Richards, St. Vincent: Proposed Constitution Facilitates Death Penalty, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48370, Sept. 8, 2009; The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Constitution Act, http://www.svgwebpages.com/SVGCONACT2009.pdf, 2009.
[7] Attorney General v. Boyce, paras. 15, 47, 117, 126, 131, 138-139, Appeal No. CV 2 of 2005, Caribbean Court of Justice, Jun. 21, 2006 (discussing the effect of the 5-year limit imposed by Pratt).
[8] Peter Richards, St. Vincent: Proposed Constitution Facilitates Death Penalty, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48370, Sept. 8, 2009; The Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Constitution Act, http://www.svgwebpages.com/SVGCONACT2009.pdf, 2009.
[9] Duggie Joseph, St. Vincent Rejects New Constitution, Favors Maintaining Ties with Queen, San Francisco Examiner, http://www.sfexaminer.com/world/st-vincent-rejects-new-constitution-favors-maintaining-ties-with-queen-74766502.html, Nov. 26, 2009.
[10] Spence v. The Queen & Hughes v. The Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 20 & Criminal Appeal No. 14, Ct. of Appeal, 1998 & 1997; affirmed by Hughes v. The Queen, Appeal No. 91 of 1991, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002.
[11] Trimmingham v. Queen, paras. 19, 22-23, Appeal No. 67 of 2007, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Jun. 22, 2009.
[12] Peter Richards, St. Vincent: Proposed Constitution Facilitates Death Penalty, Inter Press Service, http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=48370, Sept. 8, 2009.
[13] Spence & Hughes v. The Queen, Criminal Appeals Nos. 20 of 1998 & 14 of 1997, paras. 41-45, 65, 69-71, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Apr. 2, 2001.
[14] Hughes v. The Queen, Appeal No. 91 of 1991, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Mar. 11, 2002.
[15] Wilson v. The Queen, para. 17, Criminal Appeal No. 30 of 2004, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Nov. 28, 2005.
[16] Wilson v. The Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 30 of 2004, ECSC Ct. of Appeal, Nov. 28, 2005.
[17] Trimmingham v. Queen, Criminal Appeal No. 32, Ct. of Appeal, 2004.
[18] Trimmingham v. Queen, paras. 19, 22-23, Appeal No. 67 of 2007, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Jun. 22, 2009.
[19] Pratt v. Morgan, p. 26, Appeal No. 10 of 1993, Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, Nov. 2, 1993.
[20] Constitution of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, arts. 65-67, No. 916 of 1979.
[21] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136126.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[22] U.S. Dept. of State, Background Note: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/ei/bgn/2345.htm, Apr. 12, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Amnesty Intl. Report 1996—St Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6a9ef20.html, Jan. 1, 1996.
[23] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, 999 U.N.T.S. 171, Dec. 16, 1966, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-5&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

Death sentenced prisoners are kept in Her Majesty’s Prison in Kingstown. [1] Female inmates are held in Fort Charlotte Prison. [2]

Description of Prison Conditions

One report notes that in 2005, Her Majesty’s Prison was 473% overcrowded. Her Majesty’s Prison has a holding capacity of 75 inmates but held 355 prisoners in 2005, leading to health and security problems. [3] According the the U.S. Department of State’s 2009 Human Rights Report, overcrowding remains a problem, with approximately 400 prisoners in facilities designed for 150. According to that Report, “problems such as violence, understaffing, underpaid guards, uncontrolled weapons and drugs, increasing incidence of HIV/AIDS, and unhygienic conditions persisted. Corrupt prison staff serve as a source of drugs, weapons, and cell phones. The guards reportedly beat the prisoners regularly to extract information.” Conditions for female inmates are also “antiquated and unhygienic.” [4]

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

As of July 13, 2010, we did not determine that there were any foreign nationals on death row in St. Vincent. [5]

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

As of July 13, 2010, we did not determine that there were any foreign nationals on death row in St. Vincent. [6]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

As of July 13, 2010, we did not determine that any women were on death row in St. Vincent. [7]

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?

Reports indicate that no individuals are under sentence of death for crimes committed while under the age of 18. [8]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

As of July 13, 2010, we did not find information regarding discriminatory application of the death penalty. Only 3 people were under sentence of death by 2009. [9]

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

Yes—indigent defendants receive attorneys at public expense when facing a capital charge. [10]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

While lawyers may have been available in recent years, Amnesty International reported in 1996 that prisoners may have been executed without legal representation prior to exhausting their appeals because of a “lack of funds.” [11]

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The government provides legal representation only for capital crimes, leaving many defendants without sufficient legal representation. This leads to lengthy pretrial detention. The heavy backlog of cases creates delays that may last five years or more. [12]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Lengthy delays occurred in pretrial inquiries for serious crimes. The magistrate’s court in Kingstown has a backlog of pending cases. [13]

References

[1] Centro de Estudios de Justicia de las Américas, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Report on Judicial Systems in the Americas, p. 536, http://www.cejamericas.org/reporte/pdfing3/SainVincent_ing.pdf, 2006-2007.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2008 Human Rights Report: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2008/wha/119173.htm, Feb. 25, 2009.
[3] Centro de Estudios de Justicia de las Américas, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Report on Judicial Systems in the Americas, p. 536, http://www.cejamericas.org/reporte/pdfing3/SainVincent_ing.pdf, 2006-2007.
[4] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136126.htm , Mar. 11, 2010.
[5] Mark Warren, Death Row Foreigners Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/%7Emwarren/world.html, last updated May 7, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.;Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[6] Mark Warren, Death Row Foreigners Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/%7Emwarren/world.html, last updated May 7, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.;Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[7] Mark Warren, Death Row Foreigners Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/%7Emwarren/world.html, last updated May 7, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.;Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Children and the Death Penalty, ACT 50/007/2002, Sep. 2002.
[9] Mark Warren, Death Row Foreigners Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/%7Emwarren/world.html, last updated May 7, 2010; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.;Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009; Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136126.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Amnesty International Report 1996—St Vincent and the Grenadines, Jan. 1, 1996, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/3ae6a9ef20.html.
[12] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136126.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.
[13] U.S. Dept. of State, 2009 Human Rights Report: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, http://www.state.gov/g/drl/rls/hrrpt/2009/wha/136126.htm, Mar. 11, 2010.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

Eversely Thompson petitioned the Human Rights Committee against his conviction and sentence of death after he had exhausted appellate processes in Saint. Vincent and the Grenadines on the grounds that his sentencing and the conditions of his detention violated his rights under the ICCPR. The Committee found a violation of the Article 10(1) because of Thompson’s detention conditions and a violation of the Article 6(1) because mitigating circumstances were not considered in sentencing. [1]

In its 2008 Concluding Observations on Saint Vincent and the Grenadines’ compliance with the ICCPR, the Human Rights Committee recommended that “[i]n light of the continued existence of the death penalty,” legal aid should be ensured to people accused of serious crimes. The Committed observed that Hughes and Spence v. The Queen , which determined that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional, was a welcome development, and the Committee invited the State to consider full abolition. [2]

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is scheduled for Universal Periodic Review by the U.N. Human Rights Council in 2011; for reference, see: http://www.upr-info.org/-Saint-Vincent-and-the-Grenadines-.html. While Saint Vincent is a member of the Organization of American States, it has not ratified the American Covenant on Human Rights, [3] so the Court does not take cases regarding Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (although the Commission could still consider whether the State’s laws and practices comply with its obligations as a member of the OAS, including whether its laws and practices comport with the American Declaration of the Rights and Duties of Man).

References

[1] U.N. Human Rights Committee, Communication No. 806/1998, p. 102-111, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, CCPR/C/70/D/806/1998, Dec. 5, 2006.
[2] U.N., ICCPR, Concluding Observations of the Human Rights Committee: St. Vincent and the Grenadines, No. 6, CCPR/C/VCT/CO/2, Apr. 24, 2008.
[3] Status, Declarations, Reservations, Denunciations, Withdrawals, B-32: Amer. Conv. on Human Rights, Pact of San Jose, Costa Rica, Nov. 22, 1969, http://cidh.oas.org/basicos/english/basic4.amer.conv.ratif.htm, last accessed Jun. 10, 2010.

Additional Sources and Contacts

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

None.

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

None.

Helpful Reports and Publications

Centro de Estudios de Justicia de las Américas, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Report on Judicial Systems in the Americas, http://www.cejamericas.org/reporte/pdfing3/SainVincent_ing.pdf, 2006-2007.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

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