Law experts weigh in on death penalty argument

May 16, 2005
Singapore Democrats

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Below are two articles that analyse the death penalty and the legal process in Singapore. Both written by law experts criticize capital punishment here:

The death penalty and the rule of law in Singapore and International law
Michael Hor
Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, NUS
Singapore Year Book of International Law and Contributors, 2004
http://law.nus.edu.sg/sybil/current.html

This article compares Singapores law and practice of the death penalty with what may appear to be an emerging international consensus on the minimum standards under which capital punishment may be legitimately employed. It explores some of the difficulties that might be encountered should international law attempt to govern the use of the death penalty. It also contains some tentative observations about how certain aspects of capital punishment in Singapore may be problematic should such standards ever crystallize into customary international law.

The Mandatory Death Sentence
KS Rajah, SC
Law Gazette
http://www.lawgazette.com.sg/2005-4/Apr05-col1.htm

In 1965 the Constitution of Singapore enhanced and entrenched the right and dignity to life by requiring the deprivation of life to be according to law. In 1974 the Court of Appeal set aside death sentences imposed in the exercise of judicial discretion. In 1981 the Privy Council ruled that there is nothing unusual in a mandatory death sentence under the Constitution. In 2002 and 2004 the Privy Council of nine judges has said that the statement made in 1981 is not acceptable. It is not good law. In 2004 the Singapore Court of Appeal has followed the 1981 decision of the Privy Council. This article discusses the cases and the need for penal policy changes to protect and preserve a sentencing courts discretion in capital cases.