Indonesia’s resumption of the death penalty after a four-year moratorium is a major setback for the country’s human rights record, the ICJ said today.
Indonesia executed Adami Wilson Bin Adam on 15 March 2013. After the execution, Indonesia’s Attorney General Basrief Arief announced that the government was set to execute nine more convicts this year.
“The Indonesian government should immediately reverse its decision to proceed with more executions in defiance of global trends toward the abolition of the death penalty,” said Emerlynne Gil, ICJ’s International Legal Advisor for Southeast Asia in Bangkok. “At least 150 countries have now either abolished the death penalty or instituted an official or unofficial moratorium. There is a growing understanding around the world that the death penalty is an unacceptable assault on rights and dignity.”
Adami Wilson Bin Adam was convicted in 2004 for smuggling one kilogram of heroin into the country. In Indonesia, the law prescribes the penalty of death for trafficking narcotics.
During its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in 2012 at the UN Human Rights Council, Indonesia rejected recommendations to abolish the death penalty or establish a moratorium on executions.
In its reply, the Government of Indonesia said that death penalty is imposed “selectively only for serious crimes.” However, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, in his report, emphasized that “the death penalty should be eliminated for crimes such as economic crimes and drug-related offences.”
Indonesia last carried out executions four years ago. In 2008 it executed three men convicted of the 2002 Bali bombings.
“This execution undermines Indonesia’s repeated efforts to position itself as a regional human rights leader,” Gil added. “Its resumption of executions is indeed a very grave setback not only for Indonesia, but also for the region and ASEAN, the Association of South East Asia Nations.”
The ICJ says that use of the death penalty violates the right to life and the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment.
Last November 2012, the UN General Assembly issued a resolution calling on all Member States to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
The resolution was adopted by an overwhelming number of votes from Member States. Indonesia abstained from the vote.
The ICJ calls Indonesia to immediately ratify the 2nd Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which obligates State Parties to take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty.
In the immediate term, the country should implement a moratorium on the practice, the ICJ adds.