Administration of the death penalty in the United States: report of a mission

With the increasing numbers of death penalties imposed and implemented, allegations of its unjust application and ratification by the US Government of the ICCPR and ICERD, the ICJ sent a mission to investigate federal and state practices and procedures in respect of capital punishment.

In particular, the mission wished to examine whether such practices and procedures conformed to the international obligations undertaken by the United States. The ICJ does not have a policy on the death penalty and the task of the mission was to investigate and examine the country’s implementation at the federal (excluding the military and extra territoriae jurisdictions under the control of the US Government) and state levels.

The mission consisted of Mr. Fali S. Nariman (Senior Advocate of the Supreme Court of India and Chairman of the IC J Executive Committee), Justice Lennart Groll (retired Judge of the Stockholm Court of Appeals and an IC J Vice-President), Justice Kayode Eso (retired Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria) and Mrs. Sigrid Higgins (Executive Secretary of the IC J and a lawyer from Australia).

With a view to gathering first hand information concerning the practices and procedures of capital punishment sentencing as it actually operates in the United States, the members of the mission visited Washington DC and the States of Pennsylvania, Georgia and Texas during the second half of January 1996, and personally conducted inquiries at both state and federal levels.

USA-administration of death penalty-fact finding mission report-1996-eng (full text in English, PDF)

Fact-finding mission reportsReports