Death Penalty Worldwide

Swaziland

Last updated on June 1, 2014

General

Country

Kingdom of Swaziland (Swaziland). [1]

Geographical Region

Africa (Southern Africa). [2]

Death Penalty Law Status

Abolitionist de facto. The last execution was carried out in 1983. [3]

Methods of Execution

Hanging. [4]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Swaziland Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095692, May 21, 2013.
[2] U.N., Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings, http://unstats.un.org/unsd/methods/m49/m49regin.htm, Oct. 31, 2013.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[4] Swaziland Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, art. 297, Act No. 67/1398, Jan. 1, 1939, as amended through to 2004.

Country Details

Language(s)

Swazi and English. [1]

Population

1,200,000 (U.N., 2012). [2]

Number of Individuals Currently Under Sentence of Death

At least 6. [3]

Annual Number of Reported Executions

Executions in 2014 to date (last updated on September 26, 2014)

0. [4]

Executions in 2013

0. [5]

Per capita execution rate in 2013

0 executions.

Executions in 2012

0. [6]

Per capita execution rate in 2012

0 executions.

Executions in 2011

0. [7]

Per capita execution rate in 2011

0 executions.

Executions in 2010

0. [8]

Executions in 2009

0. [9]

Executions in 2008

0. [10]

Executions in 2007

0. [11]

Year of Last Known Execution

1983. [12]

References

[1] BBC, Country Profiles: Swaziland Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095692, May 21, 2013.
[2] BBC, Country Profiles: Swaziland Profile, http://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-14095692, May 21, 2013.
[3] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[4] DPW Executions and Death Sentences Monitor.
[5] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 26, 2014.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, ACT 50/001/2012, Apr. 9, 2013.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, ACT 50/001/2012, http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/info/ACT50/001/2012/en, Mar. 27, 2012.
[8] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences Executions in 2010, p. 45, ACT 50/001/2011, Mar. 28, 2011.
[9] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2009, p. 29, ACT 50/001/2010, Mar. 30, 2010.
[10] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2008, p. 8, ACT 50/003/2009, Mar. 24, 2009.
[11] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2007, p. 6, ACT 50/001/2008, Apr. 15, 2008.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.

Crimes and Offenders Punishable By Death

Crimes Punishable by Death

Murder.
Murder is punishable by death. [1]

Treason.
Treason is punishable by death. [2] Treason is defined by the Constitution as acting by violent or unlawful means against the Constitution, or aiding or abetting one who does so. [3]

Does the country have a mandatory death penalty?

No. The 2005 Constitution prohibits the mandatory death penalty. [4] The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act specifically provides that individuals convicted of murder may receive a sentence other than the death penalty if there are extenuating circumstances. [5] Prior to 2005, courts exercised discretionary sentencing only if they found such extenuating circumstances.As Hood & Hoyle indicate, the ambit of the court’s discretion may have been unclear.The new Constitution resolved the issue and clarified that courts may always exercise discretion.

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

None. The mandatory death penalty is unconstitutional. [6]

Crimes For Which Individuals Have Been Executed Since January 2008:

No one has been executed in Swaziland since 1983. [7]

Categories of Offenders Excluded From the Death Penalty:

Individuals Below Age 18 At Time of Crime.
The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act stipulates that those who had not attained the age of 18 at the time of the crime may not be sentenced to death. [8] This conforms with Swaziland’s obligations as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which prohibit the execution of juvenile offenders. [9]

Pregnant Women.
The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act stipulates that a pregnant woman may not be sentenced to death, and shall instead receive imprisonment with hard labor. [10] This conforms with Swaziland’s obligations as a party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which prohibits the execution of pregnant women. [11]

Mentally Ill.
Insanity at the time of the offense can preclude or limit criminal liability, and the accused can be given a mental evaluation at some point during the investigation of a crime to establish sanity. [12] We did not find any laws that prohibit the execution of those who are mentally ill.

References

[1] Swaziland Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, art. 296(1), Act No. 67/1398, Jan. 1, 1939, as amended through to 2004.
[2] Swaziland Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, art. 296(1), Act No. 67/1398, Jan. 1, 1939, as amended through to 2004.
[3] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 2(3), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[4] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 15(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[5] Swaziland Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, art. 296(1), Act No. 67/1398, Jan. 1, 1939, as amended through to 2004.
[6] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 15(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[8] Swaziland Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, art. 296(1), Act No. 67/1398, Jan. 1, 1939, as amended through to 2004.
[9] 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 Mar. 22, 2014. Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Convention 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, last accessed Mar. 22, 2014.
[10] Swaziland Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, art. 298(1), Act No. 67/1398, Jan. 1, 1939, as amended through to 2004.
[11] 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 Apr. 22, 2014.
[12] Rex v. Velaphi Simon Magagula, Crim. Case No. 49/97, Swaziland High Court, Dec. 9, 1998.

International Commitments

ICCPR

Party?

Yes. [1]

Date of Accession

March 26, 2004. [2]

Signed?

No. [3]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

No. [4]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [5]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

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

Party?

No. [6]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

No. [7]

Date of Signature

Not Applicable.

American Convention on Human Rights

Party?

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?

Yes. [8]

Date of Accession

September 15, 1995. [9]

Signed?

Yes. [10]

Date of Signature

December 20, 1991. [11]

Protocol to the ACHPR on the Rights of Women in Africa

Party?

No. [12]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [13]

Date of Signature

December 7, 2004. [14]

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child

Party?

No. [15]

Date of Accession

Not Applicable.

Signed?

Yes. [16]

Date of Signature

June 29, 1992. [17]

Arab Charter on Human Rights

Party?

Not Applicable.

Date of Accession

Signed?

Not Applicable.

Date of Signature

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

Abstained. [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 Apr. 21, 2014.
[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 Apr. 21, 2014.
[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 Apr. 21, 2014.
[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 Apr. 21, 2014.
[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 Apr. 21, 2014.
[6] Status, Declarations, and Reservations, Second Optional Prot. to the ICCPR, Aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty, 1642 U.N.T.S. 414, Dec. 15, 1989, http://treaties.un.org/Pages/ViewDetails.aspx?src=TREATY&mtdsg_no=IV-12&chapter=4&lang=en, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[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 Apr. 21, 2014.
[8] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[9] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[10] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[11] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on Human and People’s Rights, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/achpr/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[12] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[13] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[14] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/women-protocol/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[15] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[16] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[17] African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights, Ratification Table: African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the Child, http://www.achpr.org/instruments/child/ratification, last accessed Apr. 21, 2014.
[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, 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?

Article 14(1) enshrines “respect for life” as a fundamental right. Under Article 15, titled “Protection of right to life,” no-one may be “deprived of life intentionally save in the execution of the sentence of a court in respect of a criminal offence under the law of Swaziland.” Article 15(2) further states that the death penalty shall not be mandatory. [1]

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

Unless they are self-executing, international treaties and agreements executed by the government only become binding on the government when they are ratified by an act of the Parliament or by a resolution of at least two-thirds of the members at a joint sitting of the two Chambers of Parliament. [2]

The constitution mandates that in its dealings with other nations generally, Swaziland shall promote respect for international law and treaty obligations, [3] and shall “actively participate in international and regional organizations that stand for peace and for the well-being and progress of humanity.” [4] Furthermore, Swaziland shall “endeavour to uphold the principles, aims and ideals” of the United Nations, the African Union and other international organizations to which it belongs. [5]

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

Swaziland has executed about 34 people since its independence from Britain in 1968, [6] but has not carried out any executions since 1983. [7] In 2005, the Kingdom promulgated a Constitution under which the mandatory death penalty is prohibited. [8] This represents a move to clearly discretionary sentencing—previously, discretion was limited to cases where courts found extenuating circumstances. [9]

Perhaps the most serious issue regarding the application of the death penalty is the length of time individuals can spend on death row under what amounts to an indefinite prison sentence, unsure of whether the current policy not to carry out executions will continue. [10] In 2000, a legislator urged the government to hang or free a number of death row inmates, arguing that it is inhumane to keep someone on death row for 10 or more years without telling him when he will be killed. [11] The following year, the King pardoned four murderers who had served 16 to 18 years respectively on death row. [12]

In its 2011 national report to the Human Rights Council, Swaziland stated that the death penalty is not mandatory, “may only be imposed on adults convicted of murder without extenuating circumstances and treason,” and is only carried out after a final decision by the Supreme Court. [13] It also indicated that the Prerogative of Mercy Committee generally commutes death sentences, noting that 42 out of 45 people who had been sentenced to death since the last execution in 1983 had had their sentences commuted. [14] The Swazi government further stated that “though a retentionist state in law, it is abolitionist in practice.” [15] However, Swaziland has handed down two death sentences since its 2011 report to the Human Rights Council – one in 2011 and another in 2012. [16] Swaziland also indicated after the 2011 Universal Periodic Review that it was not yet ready to accept the recommendations to accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR and abolish the death penalty. [17] In addition, the Swazi government has voted three times against the U.N. General Assembly’s Resolution on a Global Moratorium on the use of the death penalty [18] and signed all four Notes Verbales denouncing the Resolution. [19]

Over the past decade, death-sentenced prisoners have had difficulty exercising their right to appeal because of interruptions in the availability of courts of appeal. (In 1989 the Appellate Court was essentially a visiting guest court from South Africa. [20] ) For instance, in 2003 a death-sentenced prisoner lodged an appeal but there was no appeals court to hear it. [21] The new Constitution establishes a Supreme Court (and High Court), [22] but foreign-born judges still comprise the entire Supreme Court bench. [23]

According to a joint submission to the 2011 Universal Periodic Review by a coalition of civil society organizations in Swaziland, Swaziland is currently unable to carry out any death sentences because there is no hangman. [24]

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

No. Swaziland has had a de facto moratorium on executions since 1983, [25] but has not formalized the moratorium. [26]

According to a 2004 report by the national coordinator of Swaziland, George Vukor-Quarshie, the government stated that it suspended executions while it searches for a more humane method of execution, but it is believed that the true reason is the government’s difficulty in procuring an executioner after the last one died. [27]

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

Cases pre-dating the 2005 Constitution, which prohibits the mandatory death penalty, [28] applied an “extenuating circumstances” rule [29] that did not always allow for full discretion. [30]

In The King v. Musa Kotso Samuel Dlamini, the High Court of Swaziland ruled in 2009 on the death penalty in light of section 15(2) of the 2005 Constitution. The Crown conceded that courts were no longer obligated to sentence the accused to death when no extenuating circumstances were found, but noted that the Constitution had not abolished the death penalty altogether. Thus, a court could exercise its discretion to impose a death sentence in a case where no extenuating circumstances existed. The defendant, who was accused of murder, argued that the law regarding the mandatory death penalty for murder had changed with the introduction of the 2005 Constitution. The judge recognized that the Constitution was the Supreme Law of Swaziland, considered the fact that the accused was a first time offender and the absence of premeditation as mitigating factors, and sentenced the defendant to eighteen years in prison. [31]

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

The Southern Africa Legal Information Institute (http://www.saflii.org/content/swaziland-index) provides judicial decisions by the High Court and the Supreme Court. The Swazi Legal Information Institute (http://www.swazilii.org/) also provides a web search for decisions of the Supreme Court and the High Court of Swaziland. Both sites are periodically updated, allow keyword searches, and might not be comprehensive.

What is the clemency process?

According to article 78 of the Constitution the King may grant a pardon, commutation, respite, or remittal. The Constitution provides that the King “shall act on the advice of a Committee on the Prerogative of Mercy…,” a body which includes two members of the King’s Advisory Council, the Attorney-General, the Minister of Justice, and a health expert. After a capital conviction in a civilian court, the Committee must obtain a report from the trial court (or judiciary) and may consider other information in determining whether to advise the King to exercise the prerogative of mercy. [32] The Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act also states that the King may commute or remit any sentence or grant pardon. [33]

Are jury trials provided for defendants charged with capital offenses?

Jury trials are not used according to a recent report. [34] We also found no mention of juries, lay judges or assessors in the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act. [35]

Amnesty International, however, reported in 1989 that the adjudicatory process involves lay judges, who assist in determining facts, including whether there are extenuating circumstances. [36] We do not know whether the practice has continued.

Brief Description of Appellate Process

The High Court has unlimited original jurisdiction in criminal matters. [37] It also has the jurisdiction to hear any constitutional matter and enforce fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution. [38] As well as being a trial court, the High Court may hear appeals from specialized, subordinate or local courts established by Parliament. [39] Appeals from the High Court lie to the Supreme Court, which is the final court of appeal [40] and is composed of a Chief Justice and no fewer than four other justices. [41] Appeals to the Supreme Court are as of right from a judgment of the High Court exercising its original jurisdiction, [42] and otherwise with leave from either court where the case involves “a substantial question of law or is in the public interest.” [43]

As of 2011, the entire Supreme Court bench reportedly consisted of foreign judges. [44]

References

[1] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, arts. 14(1)(a), 15(1), 15(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[2] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 238(2)-(4), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[3] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 61(1)(c), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[4] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 61(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[5] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 236(1)(d), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005
[6] Hands Off Cain, Swaziland, http://www.handsoffcain.info/bancadati/schedastato.php?idstato=18000472&idcontinente=25, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014.
[7] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[8] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 15(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[9] Rex v. Shabangu, Qamalaza Vusie, Crim. Trial No. 111/1998, Swaziland High Court, Oct. 11, 2001. Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 280, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[10] AllAfrica, Swaziland: Call To Hang Or Free Swazi Death Row Prisoners, http://allafrica.com/stories/200003300138.html, Mar. 30, 2000.
[11] AllAfrica, Swaziland: Call To Hang Or Free Swazi Death Row Prisoners, http://allafrica.com/stories/200003300138.html, Mar. 30, 2000.
[12] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 261, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[13] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 (a) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1: Swaziland, para. 72, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/12/SWZ/1, Jul. 19, 2011.
[14] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 (a) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1: Swaziland, para. 73, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/12/SWZ/1, Jul. 19, 2011.
[15] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, National report submitted in accordance with paragraph 15 (a) of the annex to Human Rights Council resolution 5/1: Swaziland, para. 73, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/WG.6/12/SWZ/1, Jul. 19, 2011.
[16] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2011, p. 52, ACT 50/001/2012, Mar. 27, 2012. Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2012, p. 46, ACT 50/001/2013, Apr. 10, 2013.
[17] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Swaziland: Addendum, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/6/Add.1, Mar. 6, 2012.
[18] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, 60th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/67/PV.60, Dec. 20, 2012. U.N.G.A., 65th Session, 71st Plenary Meeting, pp. 18-19, U.N. Doc. A/65/PV.71, Dec. 21, 2010. U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, 70th Plenary Meeting, pp. 16-17, U.N. Doc. A/63/PV.70, Dec. 18, 2008.
[19] U.N.G.A., 67th Session, Note Verbale dated 16 April 2013, U.N. Doc. A/67/841, Apr. 23, 2013. U.N.G.A., 65th Session, Note Verbale dated 11 March 2011, U.N. Doc. A/65/779, Mar. 11, 2011. U.N.G.A., 63rd Session, Note Verbale dated 10 February 2009, U.N. Doc. A/63/716, Feb. 12, 2009. U.N.G.A., 62nd Session, Note Verbale dated 11 January 2008, U.N. Doc. A/62/658, Feb. 2, 2008.
[20] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 200, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[21] Amnesty Intl., Amnesty International Report 2004 - Swaziland, http://www.unhcr.org/refworld/docid/40b5a20214.html, May 26, 2004.
[22] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 139, Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[23] The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Society Organisations & Council of Swaziland Churches & Citizen Empowerment Centre, Joint Universal Periodic Review Submission Swaziland, p. 6, http://upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/swaziland/session_12_-_october_2011/js1-jointsubmission1-eng.pdf, 2011.
[24] The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Society Organisations & Council of Swaziland Churches & Citizen Empowerment Centre, Joint Universal Periodic Review Submission Swaziland, p. 2, http://upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/swaziland/session_12_-_october_2011/js1-jointsubmission1-eng.pdf, 2011.
[25] Amnesty Intl., Death Sentences and Executions in 2013, p. 47, ACT 50/001/2014, Mar. 27, 2014.
[26] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Swaziland, paras. 77.26, 77.29, 77.33, 77.41, 77.42, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/6, Dec. 12, 2011.
[27] Lilian Chenwi, Towards the Abolition of the Death Penalty in Africa: A Human Rights Perspective, pp. 53-54, Pretoria University Law Press (PULP), 2007.
[28] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 15(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[29] Roger Hood & Carolyn Hoyle, The Death Penalty: A Worldwide Perspective, p. 280, Oxford University Press, 4th ed., 2008.
[30] Rex v. Shabangu, Qamalaza Vusie, Crim. Trial No. 111/1998, Swaziland High Court, Oct. 11, 2001.
[31] The King v. Musa Kotso Samuel Dlamini, Criminal Case No. 200/07, High Court of Swaziland, May 29, 2009.
[32] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 78, Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[33] Swaziland Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, arts. 329, 330, Act No. 67/1398, Jan. 1, 1939, as amended through to 2004.
[34] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Swaziland, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220167.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[35] Swaziland Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, Act No. 67/1398, Jan. 1, 1939, as amended through to 2004.
[36] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 210, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[37] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 151(1)(a), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[38] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 151(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[39] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 151(1)(b), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[40] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 146, Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[41] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 145(1), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[42] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 147(1)(b), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[43] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 147(1)(a), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[44] The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Society Organisations & Council of Swaziland Churches & Citizen Empowerment Centre, Joint Universal Periodic Review Submission Swaziland, p. 6, http://upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/swaziland/session_12_-_october_2011/js1-jointsubmission1-eng.pdf, 2011.

Death Penalty In Practice

Where Are Death-Sentenced Prisoners incarcerated?

It is possible that death-sentenced prisoners are held at Matsapha Central Prison, where as of 1989 the gallows were located. [1]

Description of Prison Conditions

We found no reports on death row conditions. Prison and detention center conditions in Swaziland are generally poor. Some prisons are overcrowded, increasing the risk of diseases and infections. Sexual violence reportedly occurs in prisons. Prisoners are given drinkable water and food, but pretrial detainees generally rely on their family members or friends to provide food. Prisoners and detainees have reasonable access to visitors, and may observe their religious practices. [2]

His Majesty’s Correctional Services (HMCS) updates records on prisoners every day. It also receives and processes complaints from prisoners, the public, and the HMCS staff. Independent monitoring is limited due to the difficulty of accessing prison facilities. [3]

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

Unsure. One South African national was sentenced to death in 2003, but his sentence may have been commuted in 2011 when the King reportedly commuted all death sentences. [4]

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

Unsure. One South African national was sentenced to death in 2003, but his sentence may have been commuted by the King in 2011. [5]

Are there any known women currently under sentence of death?

We found no reports of women under the 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?

We found no reports of individuals held under sentence of death for crimes committed below age 18. Amnesty International reports that there have been no known executions of juveniles in Swaziland since 1990 when it started keeping records. [6]

Comments regarding the racial/ethnic composition on death row

We found no reports on the racial or ethnic composition on death row.

Are there lawyers available for indigent defendants facing capital trials?

The Constitution enshrines a fundamental right to legal representation at the government’s expense in the case of any offense that carries the death penalty. [7]

Are there lawyers available for indigent prisoners on appeal?

We do not know if the constitutional right to government-provided legal representation for defendants facing the death penalty [8] extends to appeals.

Comments on Quality of Legal Representation

The Constitution guarantees defendants facing the death penalty not only a right to legal representation at the expense of the government but also the right to be informed of the nature of the charge, the right to be given sufficient time and facilities to prepare a defense, the right to call defense witnesses, and the right to the free assistance of an interpreter if necessary. [9] A 2014 report states that detainees can generally consult lawyers of their choice in a timely manner, that defendants are given adequate time to prepare a defense, and that defendants and their legal counsel are permitted access to government-held evidence, but reportedly not in politically sensitive cases. [10]

Other Comments on Criminal Justice System

Civil society organizations report that Swaziland lacks an independent judiciary. The King, after consulting with the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), appoints the members of the judiciary. However, the criteria for appointment of the members of the JSC are unclear, and the King may choose to disregard the advice of the JSC in appointing judges. Some judges have been sidelined from hearing certain cases without explanation. The entire Supreme Court bench is composed of foreign judges. [11]

Even though Swaziland is party to the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, torture is reportedly rampant. Law enforcement officials have reportedly use excessive force against peaceful demonstrators, lethal force against criminal suspects, and torture against detainees. Those held in police custody have endured beatings and suffocation torture as the police attempt to elicit information during investigations. Some suspects have lost their lives due to torture. Members of progressive movements are especially harshly treated. There is no independent body to oversee and investigate such human rights violations or to bring security forces to justice. Moreover, an informal community watch formation known as community police reportedly tortures suspects before handing them over to the state police. Some suspects have been paralyzed by these severe beatings. [12]

Detainees must be charged within a reasonable time according to law, but this is not always the case. Pretrial detention is lengthy due to judicial inefficiency, shortage of staff, and prolonged detention by the police. [13]

References

[1] Amnesty Intl., When the State Kills, p. 211, Amnesty Intl. Publications, 1989.
[2] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Swaziland, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220167.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[3] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Swaziland, Prison and Detention Center Conditions, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220167.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[4] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, Jan. 19, 2013.
[5] Mark Warren, Foreigners Under Sentence of Death Worldwide, http://users.xplornet.com/~mwarren/world.html, Jan. 19, 2013.
[6] Amnesty Intl., Executions of Juveniles Since 1990, http://www.amnesty.org/en/death-penalty/executions-of-child-offenders-since-1990, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014.
[7] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 21(2)(c), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[8] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 21(2)(c), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[9] The Constitution of the Kingdom of Swaziland, art. 21(2), Act No. 1 of 2005, Jul. 26, 2005.
[10] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Swaziland, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, Trial Procedures, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220167.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.
[11] The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Society Organisations & Council of Swaziland Churches & Citizen Empowerment Centre, Joint Universal Periodic Review Submission Swaziland, pp. 5-6, http://upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/swaziland/session_12_-_october_2011/js1-jointsubmission1-eng.pdf, 2011.
[12] Amnesty Intl., Swaziland: Amnesty International submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review: 12th session of the UPR Working Group, October 2011, pp. 4-5, http://upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/swaziland/session_12_-_october_2011/ai-amnestyinternational-eng.pdf, Mar. 14, 2011. The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Society Organisations & Council of Swaziland Churches & Citizen Empowerment Centre, Joint Universal Periodic Review Submission Swaziland, p. 8, http://upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/swaziland/session_12_-_october_2011/js1-jointsubmission1-eng.pdf, 2011.
[13] U.S. Dept. of State, 2013 Human Rights Reports: Swaziland, Arrest Procedures and Treatment of Detainees, http://www.state.gov/j/drl/rls/hrrpt/2013/af/220167.htm, Feb. 27, 2014.

Decisions of International Human Rights Bodies

Decisions of Human Rights Committee

Swaziland has not yet submitted its report, due in 2005, to the Human Rights Committee, [1] so the Committee has not yet issued its concluding observations pursuant to state reporting. We did not find any decisions pursuant to communications with the Committee.

Decisions of Other Human Rights Bodies

In 2011, the Human Rights Council, through the Universal Periodic Review process, recommended that Swaziland accede to the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, abolish the death penalty, continue commuting death sentences, and formalize the moratorium on the death penalty. [2] Swaziland responded that it was not yet ready to accept the recommendations. [3]

References

[1] U.N. Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Reporting Status: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: Swaziland’s reporting round: 1, http://www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf/5038ebdcb712174dc1256a2a002796da/80256404004ff315c125638c005f9de4?OpenDocument, last accessed Apr. 23, 2014.
[2] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Swaziland, paras. 77.3, 77.4, 77.6, 77.8, 77.14, 77.16, 77.24, 77.26, 77.29, 77.30, 77.32, 77.33, 77.37, 77.39-77.43, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/6, Dec. 12, 2011.
[3] U.N.G.A. Human Rights Council, Report of the Working Group on the Universal Periodic Review: Swaziland: Addendum, para. 11, U.N. Doc. A/HRC/19/6/Add.1, Mar. 6, 2012.

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

Amnesty Intl., Swaziland: Amnesty International submission to the UN Universal Periodic Review: 12th session of the UPR Working Group, October 2011, http://upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/swaziland/session_12_-_october_2011/ai-amnestyinternational-eng.pdf, Mar. 14, 2011.

Lilian Chenwi, Towards the abolition of the death penalty in Africa: a Human Rights Perspective, Pretoria Universtity Law Press (PULP), 2007.

The Swaziland Coalition of Concerned Civic Society Organisations & Council of Swaziland Churches & Citizen Empowerment Centre, Joint Universal Periodic Review Submission Swaziland, http://upr-info.org/sites/default/files/document/swaziland/session_12_-_october_2011/js1-jointsubmission1-eng.pdf, 2011.

Additional notes regarding this country

None.

Search Tips   |    Research Methodology   |    Glossary   |    Search