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Report of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, A/HRC/4/20, January 29, 2007


A. Communications

8. A very brief statistical profile of the communications sent during the period under review shows that 135 communications were sent to 51 countries and 2 other actors (including 44 urgent appeals and 75 letters of allegation and 16 communications following up on previous correspondence) concerning a total of more than 1,531 individuals.  A breakdown of the subjects of those appeals shows that they involved 336 males, 55 females, more than 1,087 persons whose sex was unknown, 53 minors, 58 members of religious, ethnic or indigenous minorities, 22 human rights defenders, 36 migrants and 16 journalists. More than 145 persons were killed for exercising their freedom of opinion and expression, 4 were killed in the name of honour, 4 were killed for their sexual orientation and 19 of those killed were suspected terrorists.

B. Visits

10. During the course of 2006, I undertook two visits:

(a) Guatemala.

I visited Guatemala from 21 to 25 August 2006 at the invitation of its Government and met with government officials and members of civil society. In Guatemala, over 5,000 people die violently each year. A degree of State responsibility derives from the involvement of its agents in some forms of violence and its ineffectual response to others. During my visit, I gathered evidence on the prevalence and causes of phenomena such as social cleansing, “femicide”, lynching, killings motivated by sexual orientation or identity, the killing of human rights defenders and prison violence. Guatemala’s choice is between a human rights-consistent approach based on a working system of criminal justice (and in line with the vision of the Peace Accords) or a brutal and repressive response, often advocated under the rubric of a mano dura (iron fist), to crack down on “undesirable” elements.  My report is in document A/HRC/4/20/Add.2.


C.  Imposing the death penalty only for the “most serious crimes”

40. …In communications with Governments, the Special Rapporteur has addressed death sentences for offences and conduct including adultery, apostasy, blasphemy, bribery, acts incompatible with chastity, corruption, drug possession, drug trafficking, drug-related offences,  economic  offences, expressing oneself,  holding an opinion, homosexual acts [1],  matters  of sexual orientation, [2]

51. With respect to particular offences, the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Committee have determined that a wide range of specific offences fall outside the scope of the “most serious crimes” for which the death penalty may be imposed. These include: abduction not resulting in death, abetting suicide, adultery, apostasy, corruption, drug-related offences, economic crimes, the expression of conscience, financial crimes, embezzlement by officials, evasion of military service, homosexual acts [3], illicit sex, [4], sexual relations between consenting adults [5],

full text of the Report: Report-SR Extrajudicial Executions-2007-eng

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. E/CN.4/2002/74/Add.2, para. 546 (Somalia; see also E/CN.4/2002/74, para. 65); E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.2, para. 150 (Sudan); E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.1, pp.  108-110 (Islamic Republic of Iran).
  2. E/CN.4/2000/3, para. 70.
  3.  CCPR/C/79/Add.85, para. 8 (1997) (Sudan).
  4.   CCPR/C/79/Add.85, para. 8 (1997) (Sudan).
  5. CHR Res. 2002/77, para. 4(c) (25 April 2002); CHR Res. 2005/59 (20 April 2005), para. 7(f).