ICJ condemns execution of six persons in Indonesia: the death penalty is a perversion of justice

The ICJ condemned the execution in Indonesia of six persons convicted of drug trafficking offences. Other rights groups issued similar denunciations.

The ICJ emphasized that the death penalty constitutes a denial of the right to life and freedom from cruel, inhuman, or degrading punishment.

Six persons convicted of drug trafficking offences were executed by firing squad on Sunday, 18 January 2015, in Indonesia.

Marco Archer Cardoso Moreira, Namaona Denis, Daniel Enemuo aka Diarrassouba Mamadou, Ang Kiem Soei aka Kim Ho, and Rani Andriani aka Melisa Aprika were executed at a high security prison on Nusakambangan Island, while Tran Thi Bich Hanh was executed in Boyolali. Both places are in Central Java.

Sam Zarifi, ICJ’s Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, said: “the UN Human Rights Committee has made it clear that imposition of the death penalty for drug offenses is incompatible with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and has explicitly called on Indonesia to amend their laws accordingly and to commute all death sentences imposed on persons convicted of such crimes.”

Indonesia is a State Party to the ICCPR, having acceded to it in 2006.

The six men had lodged clemency requests with President Joko Widodo, but they were denied.

Muhammad Prasetyo, Indonesia’s Attorney General, said that he hoped the executions of these six persons would have “a deterrent effect” on drug dealers.

“The death penalty’s perceived deterrent effect has been largely debunked, as recent studies have called into question the notion of any meaningful deterrent effect of capital punishment on the commission of crimes,” Zarifi added.

Indonesia imposed a moratorium on the death penalty in 2008, but resumed executions in 2013.

At the time, the ICJ considered the resumption of executions as a “major setback for the country’s human rights record” and noted it as inconsistent with the global trend towards the abolition of the death penalty.

According to the most recent report by the UN Secretary-General to the General Assembly on the moratorium on the use of the death penalty, approximately 160 of the 193 Member States of the United Nations have abolished the death penalty or introduced moratoriums, either in law or in practice.

Indeed, the UN General Assembly has on five occasions voted in favor of a global moratorium on the use of the death penalty with view to abolition, including by the widest majority yet in December 2014.

In 2012, during the second cycle of Indonesia’s Universal Periodic Review at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, countries such as Spain, Brazil, and Austria recommended that it consider abolishing the death penalty.

The Government of Indonesia, however, rejected this recommendation.

The ICJ opposes capital punishment in all cases without exception and continues to call on the Government of Indonesia to abolish the death penalty and, as a first step, establish a moratorium on executions.


Emerlynne Gil, ICJ International Legal Adviser for Southeast Asia, tel. no. (Bangkok) +66840923575, email: emerlynne.gil(a)icj.org




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