Summary executions


Response from the Government of Viet Nam dated 18 December 2007



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Response from the Government of Viet Nam dated 18 December 2007
Mr. Kpa Kin, born in 1972, permanently residing at Tao Or Village in the Gai Lia Province, was tried on 7 August 2006 for suspicion of carrying out illegal activities. He was found guilty and sentenced to 11 years of imprisonment. He carried out his sentence at Xuan Phuoc Prison, where he enjoyed medical care and regular health examinations and was allowed to follow a vocational training course. In early July 2007, the medical doctors of the prison diagnosed him with liver cancer. On 13 July 2007 he was admitted to the clinic in the prison but his illness did not recede. On 24 July 2007, he was sent to a general hospital of Phu Yen Province, where he was given wholehearted and thoughtful care by doctors and his family members, but due to his liver cancer he passed away on 24 August 2007. Immediately after his death the Board of Superintendents of the prison notified his family, the local administration where he had his permanent residence and the People’s Court of Phu Yen Province in order to follow the rules of procedure to register the death of a prisoner in accordance with the laws.

The Government further stated that during his hospitalization in the Phu Yen Province, the Board of Superintendents informed Mr. Kin’s family members of his health status so they could take care of him. His wife took care of him till his death, after which she signed a minute on the forensic examination identifying the cause of death as liver cancer. Members of his family and clan prepared his funeral, requesting the Board of Superintendents in writing to make arrangements to bury him at a cemetery in Phu Yen Province. According to the Government, Mr. Kin’s stepfather thanked the doctors of the hospital, the prison personnel and Board of Superintendents in writing for their care and assistance as well as for providing all the costs of the funeral of Mr. Kin and financial assistance to cover the travel costs of his family members. He also confirmed that his family and clan did not have any complaint about the death of Mr. Kin.


Yemen: Death Sentences of Ismail Lutef Huraish and Ali Mussara’a Muhammad Huraish
Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment
Subject(s) of appeal: 2 males
Character of reply: Largely satisfactory response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of Yemen in relation to the death sentences of Ismail Lutef Huraish and Ali Mussara’a Muhammad Huraish.
The SR would request that he be informed of the outcome of the review by Primary Court.
Urgent appeal dated 8 December 2005
I would like to draw the attention of Your Excellency’s Government to information I have received concerning the situation of Mr. Ismail Lutef Huraish, a 47-year-old deaf man and his cousin Mr. Ali Mussara’a Muhammad Huraish, aged 37, who are reportedly at risk of imminent execution. They were sentenced to death in 2000 for a murder committed in 1998. The Supreme Court of Yemen upheld their death sentences in January 2004. I understand that President ´Ali ´Abdullah Saleh, who has the power to grant them clemency, is currently considering their sentences. Concerns have been expressed that the two men were sentenced to death following trials that may have fallen short of international fair trial standards. According to the information I have received, at no time during the judicial process did the authorities provide access to sign-language interpretation for Ismail Lutef Huraish, preventing him from giving his own account of his alleged involvement in the murder. It appears that he was convicted solely on the basis of statements made by Ali Mussara’a Muhammad Huraish during police interrogation and during their trial, which allegedly implicated both men in the murder. Detailed information about the circumstances in which Ali Mussara’a Muhammad Huraish’s confessions were obtained has not been made available to me.
I would like to remind Your Excellency that the death penalty must be regarded as an extreme exception to the fundamental right to life and must as such be interpreted in the most restrictive manner. Accordingly, it is crucial that all restrictions and fair trial standards pertaining to capital punishment contained in international human rights law are fully respected in proceedings relating to capital offences.
The Commission on Human Rights has consistently requested me and my predecessors as Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions to monitor the implementation of all standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment. The alleged failure of the authorities to provide the means for Ismail Lutef Huraish to communicate is in violation of norms applicable at both domestic and international level. Indeed it violates Article 337 of the Yemeni penal code, which states that deaf defendants must have access to sign-language interpretation, and Article 14 (3) of the ICCPR, which states that defendants have the right to be informed of the charges against them and to have proceedings conducted in a language which they understand. This would appear to include finding the appropriate language or method to inform people with a hearing or speech disability of the charges and proceedings against them.
While I am fully aware of the serious nature of the crime these two men have been found guilty of, I would respectfully remind Your Excellency that “in capital punishment cases, the obligations of States parties to observe rigorously all the guarantees for a fair trial set out in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights admits of no exception”. (Little v. Jamaica, communication no. 283/1988, Views of Human rights Committee of 19 November 1991, para. 10). Relevant to the cases at issue, these guarantees include the right to be informed promptly and in detail in a language which the accused individual understands of the nature and cause of the charge against him, the right not to be compelled to confess guilt and the right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of one’s defence.

Without in any way pre-judging the accuracy of the information I have received, I would respectfully request Your Excellency’s Government to provide me with:


a) the details of the trial proceedings of Ismail Lutef Huraish and Ali Mussara’a Muhammad Huraish, including the specific charges against them, with a view to establishing whether the proceedings complied with international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment;
b) information as to whether they were given the right to formal representation by a lawyer and whether Ismail Lutef Huraish was given access to sign-language interpretation;
c) details of the circumstances in which Ali Mussara’a Muhammad Huraish’s confessions were obtained.
In view of the urgency of the matter, I would appreciate a response on these matters before any irreversible steps are taken in relation to the fate of Ismail Lutef Huraish and Ali Mussara’a Muhammad Huraish.
Response from the Government of Yemen dated 2 July 2007
The Government of Yemen informed that the case for the two persons concerned (and after the death penalty has been approved) has been re-submitted to the Primary Court for a second review of the lawsuits problems raised by the concerned parties.
Yemen: Death Sentence of Adil Muhammad Saif al-Ma’amari
Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of the death penalty
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 male (juvenile offender)
Character of reply: Cooperative but incomplete response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of Yemen. The SR is concerned, however, that Adil Muhammad Saif al-Ma’amari was executed despite the apparent lack of investigation into the allegatons that his confessions were extracted with torture.
Urgent appeal dated 8 March 2006 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture
We would like to draw the attention of your Government to information we have received regarding Adil Muhammad Saif al-Ma'amari who has reportedly been sentenced to death for a murder committed when he was 16 years old. According to the information we have received:
Adil Saif al-Ma'amari was arrested on 27 July 2001. He was tortured at a police station and confessed to the murder of his relative during an argument. During his trial at a lower Court in the city of al Rwana, the defendant immediately protested that he was under 18. On the orders of a judge he was examined by a doctor, who confirmed that he had not yet passed his 17th birthday. Nevertheless, the court decided to sentence him to death on 19 October 2002. The sentence has reportedly been upheld by the Taiz Court of Appeal on 23 May 2005 and the Supreme Court on 27 February 2006. Mr. Adil Saif al-Ma'amari’s sentence is with President Ali ´Abdullah Saleh who has the power to ratify or commute the death penalty; the young man is said to be at imminent risk of execution.
In view of the urgency of the matter and the irreversibility of the punishment, we respectfully request your Excellency’s Government to suspend the execution of Mr. Adil Saif al-Ma'amari as it would be incompatible with the international obligations of Yemen under various instruments which we have been mandated to bring to the attention of Governments. The right to life of persons below eighteen years of age and the obligation of States to guarantee the enjoyment of this right to the maximum extent possible are both specifically expressed in article 6 of the Convention of the Rights of the Child. More explicitly, article 37 (a) provides that capital punishment shall not be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age.
In addition, article 6 (5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights provides that the death penalty shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age.
We also respectfully remind your Excellency that “in capital punishment cases, the obligation of States parties to observe rigorously all the guarantees for a fair trial set out in Article 14 (of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) admits of no exception (Little v. Jamaica, communication no. 283/1988, Views of the Human Rights Committee of 19 November 1991, para. 10). Relevant to the cases at issue, these guarantees include the right not to be compelled to confess guilt and the right to adequate time and facilities for the preparation of one’s defence.
We also recall that Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/39 urges States to ensure that any statement, which is established to have been made as a result of torture shall not be invoked in any proceedings, except against a person accused of torture as evidence that the statement was made. This principle is an essential aspect of the right to physical and mental integrity set forth, inter alia, in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from being Subjected to Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
We urge your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the allegations of torture have been thoroughly investigated and all doubts in this respect dispelled. Moreover, international law requires that the accountability of any person guilty of subjecting Mr. Adil Saif al-Ma'amari to torture is ensured.
It is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the Commission on Human Rights and reinforced by the appropriate resolutions of the General Assembly, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Commission, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case accurate?
2. Please provide the details and where available the results, of any investigation, medical examinations, and judicial or other inquiries carried out in relation to the allegations that Adil Saif al-Ma'amari was subjected to torture while in pre-trial detention. If no inquiries have taken place or if they have been inconclusive please explain why.
3. Please provide the full details of any prosecutions which have been undertaken with regard to the above mentioned alleged torture. Have penal, disciplinary or administrative sanctions been imposed on the perpetrators?
Response from the Government of Yemen dated 2 July 2007
The Government informed that the death penalty against Adil Muhammad Saif al-Ma’amari has been executed as of 13th of January 2007, for a murder he committed on the 31st of July on 2001, killing his late relative Mr. Fozzy Abdulsalam Al-Ma’mari during an argument, according to his confession and to confirmed documentary evidence that the accused person’s age was 18 years when he committed the crime, the death sentence has been executed in accordance to the decision of the Primary Court approved by the Yemeni Supreme Court and Yemeni Supreme Council of Justice signed on the 31st of January 2007.
Yemen: Death Sentence of Amina Ali Abdulatif
Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 female (juvenile offender)
Character of reply: Largely satisfactory response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of Yemen and welcomes the information that the death sentence of Amina Ali Abdulatif has been suspended and that she has been released.
Urgent appeal dated 17 October 2006 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture
I would like to draw your Excellency’s attention to our correspondence, (reflected in my report to the Commission on Human Rights E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.1 p. 303-305), relating to the death sentence of juvenile offender Amina Ali Abdulatif.
As indicated in my report, I welcome the decision of your Excellency’s Government to reconsider the case of Amina Ali Abdulatif in light of Yemen’s treaty commitments not to execute persons for crimes committed when under the age of 18. As further indicated in my observations, I would be grateful if your Government could provide me with information on the outcome of your Government’s reconsideration.
Response from the Government of Yemen dated 10 December 2007
The Government of Yemen informed that the case has been closed and finalized and the named person has been released on the 9th of October 2007, based on the victim’s family’s decision to waiver their retribution rights.
Yemen: Death Sentence of Ibrahim Sharaf al-Din
Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 male
Character of reply: Cooperative but incomplete response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of Yemen. However, the SR regrets that the Government’s communication is not responsive to the allegations that have been made and does not appear to reflect a thorough investigation of whether the trial proceedings fully complied with international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment.
The SR would request that he be provided with the decision of the appeal court.
Urgent appeal dated 4 December 2006 sent with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers
We would like to draw the attention of your Government to information we have received regarding Mr. Ibrahim Sharaf al-Din who was sentenced to death by the Specialized Criminal Court in Yemen on 23 November 2006 after a trial whose proceedings reportedly fell short of international fair trial standards. The case is now subject to appeal. If his sentence is upheld he will be at risk of execution. According to the information received:
Ibrahim Sharaf al-Din was among 37 members of the Shi'a Zaidi community charged in connection with an alleged "plot to kill the President and senior army and political officers”. Ibrahim Sharaf al-Din was arrested in May 2005 and held incommunicado for several months at al- Mabahith al-‘Ama (General Investigation unit) in Sana’a. It would appear that while detained incommunicado, all 37 defendants were interrogated without a lawyer being present. During the trial that started in August 2005, lawyers were reported to have been prevented from obtaining a copy of the court file, including full interrogation records, to enable them to exercise an effective right to defence. Thirty-four of the defendants were sentenced to prison terms of up to eight years' while two others were acquitted.
Without prejudging the accuracy of the allegations reported above, we would like to recall that in death penalty cases, the obligation of States parties to observe all the guarantees for a fair trial set out in Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) allows for no exception. Relevant to the case at issue, the right to a fair trial includes the guarantee of “adequate time and facilities for the preparation of [one’s] defence and to communicate with counsel” (Article 14(3)(b)). This guarantee would be seriously violated if, as alleged, the lawyers were not allowed to obtain a copy of the court file, including full interrogation records.
We urge your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary measures to guarantee that the rights under international law of Ibrahim Sharaf al-Din are respected. We therefore ask you to ensure that his rights to an appeal and as applicable, to seek pardon are fully guaranteed. Considering the irremediable nature of the death penalty, we also ask you to ensure that in case his death sentence is upheld after his appeal, the execution be suspended until the complaints regarding his right to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law have been thoroughly investigated and all doubts in this respect dispelled.
It is our responsibility under the mandates provided to us by the Commission on Human Rights and extended by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to our attention. Since we are expected to report on these cases to the Human Rights Council, we would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:
1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case accurate?
2. Please provide details concerning the legal avenues of appeal already exercised by the defendant and those still open to him to challenge his conviction and sentence.
Response of the Government of Yemen dated 9 February 2007
The Government informed that the named person has established a terrorist cell targeting peace, stability, national and public security. They committed criminal acts in the capital Sana'a as follows:- 13 bombings resulting in a total of killing and injuring more than 25 persons. Furthermore, the named person has been caught guilty for trying together with the terrorist cell to bomb the US Embassy in Yemen with missiles and they were all transferred to the Specialized Criminal Court in Yemen for trial where he has been sentenced to death. The case is still being looked upon in the appeal court.
Yemen: Death Sentence of Hafez Ibrahim
Violation alleged: Non-respect of international standards relating to the imposition of capital punishment
Subject(s) of appeal: 1 male (juvenile offender)
Character of reply: Largely satisfactory response
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur appreciates the information provided by the Government of Yemen and welcomes the information that Amina Ali Abdulatif has been released.
Allegation letter dated 7 August 2007
I would like to refer to my urgent communication to your Excellency’s Government of 21 April, 2005, concerning the case of Hafez Ibrahim who was reportedly sentenced to death in 2005 for murder, committed when he was 16 years of age. According to information I have received, on 7 April, 2005 the Yemeni President stayed Hafez Ibrahim’s execution to allow time for an agreement to be reached in this case. The age of the accused was reportedly disputed. The relatives of the victim reportedly refused to pardon Hafez Ibrahim and in July 2007 the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence.
I would like to draw your attention to the fact that the execution of Hafez Ibrahim would violate international legal obligations of Yemen. In particular, unless the doubts regarding his age at the time of the crime can be dispelled, the execution would be explicitly contrary to Article 37(a) of the Convention on the Rights of the Child to which Yemen is a Party and which provides that capital punishment shall not be imposed for offences committed by persons below eighteen years of age. The Execution would also be explicitly contrary to article 6(5) of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to which Yemen is a Party and which provides “Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age”. Unless it can be definitively proven that Hafez Ibrahim was over the age of 18 at the time of the crime, it would be a violation of international obligations to proceed with the execution. Where any doubt at all remains it must be resolved in a way that preserves human life.
In light of these serious and pressing concerns, I would respectfully request Your Excellency’s Government to take all necessary steps to avoid executions that would be inconsistent with accepted standards of international human rights law. Unless your Excellency’s Government is able to demonstrate respect for these essential substantive protections, which flow from the international obligations accepted by Yemen, the death sentence imposed must be commuted.
Response from the Government of Yemen dated 10 December 2007
The Government informed that in connection to the death sentence against the Yemeni National Hafiz Ibrahim, the case has been closed and finalized and the named person has been released on Wednesday 31st October 2007, based on the victim’s family decision to waiver their retribution rights.
Zimbabwe: Killing of Opposition Members in Harare
Violation alleged: Deaths due to excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
Subject(s) of appeal: At least 11 to 13 persons
Character of reply: Allegations rejected but without adequate substantiation
Observations of the Special Rapporteur
The Special Rapporteur notes the information provided by the Government of Zimbabawe in relation to the killing of civilians in Harare in March 2007. However, the SR would note that he finds the conclusory rejection of all allegations to be strikingly unconvincing.

Allegation letter dated 30 March 2007
This letter focuses on reports of killings of civilians by the security forces in Harare in March 2007. A separate letter addressing a broader range of issues was sent to you on 20 March by the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression and Special Rapporteur on the question of torture.
According to information received:
On 11 March 2007 riot police in Highfield, Harare broke up a meeting organized by the “Save Zimbabwe Campaign” declared to have been illegal using tear gas, in the course of which Gift Tandare, Youth Chairperson of the National Constitutional Assembly was shot dead. An unspecified number of persons were reportedly injured and fifty arrested. It was reported that Mr Tandare was shot trying to scurry for cover in an attempt to avoid a volley of bullets fired by the police. It is my understanding that a pathologist’s report found that Mr Tandare died from trauma caused by excessive bleeding from a single gunshot wound from a high velocity weapon, since the bullet travelled through the victim’s body.
On March 13 police are also reported to have quelled mourners attempting to attend the funeral of Mr Tandare in a Harare township, shooting two MDC activists, Nickson Magondo and Naison Mashambanhaka at point blank range.
Subsequently it has been reported that eight to ten so far unnamed persons are reported to have died at Harare hospitals from injuries consistent with being beaten by state security agents with blunt instruments. It has been reported that on 16 March President Mugabe called on ZANU-PF to “deal” with opposition members in their neighbourhoods.
In this connection, I would like to refer your Excellency's Government to its obligations reflected in a variety of international instruments. Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, to which Zimbabwe is a party, provides that no one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his or her life. In its General Comment on Article 6, the Human Rights Committee has observed “that States parties should take measures not only to prevent and punish deprivation of life by criminal acts, but also to prevent arbitrary killing by their own security forces. The deprivation of life by the authorities of the State is a matter of the utmost gravity. Therefore, the law must strictly control and limit the circumstances in which a person may be deprived of his life by such authorities."
Article 3 of the Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials (General Assembly resolution 34/169 of 17 December 1979) and principle 9 of the Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials (adopted by the Eighth United Nations Congress on the Prevention of Crime and the Treatment of Offenders, Havana, 27 August to 7 September 1990), though not in themselves binding law, provide an authoritative and convincing interpretation of the limits the prohibition of arbitrary deprivation of life places on the conduct of law enforcement forces.
Article 3 states “Law enforcement officials may use force only when strictly necessary and to the extent required for the performance of their duty.” It thus sets forth the twin safeguards of necessity and proportionality in the use of force.
Principle 9 reads:
“Law enforcement officials shall not use firearms against persons except in self-defence or defence of others against the imminent threat of death or serious injury, to prevent the perpetration of a particularly serious crime involving grave threat to life, to arrest a person presenting such a danger and resisting their authority, or to prevent his or her escape, and only when less extreme means are insufficient to achieve these objectives. In any event, intentional lethal use of firearms may only be made when strictly unavoidable in order to protect life.” (emphasis added)
I urgently appeal to your Excellency’s Government to ensure that any ongoing operations by the security forces conform to these principles.
In order to assess whether the use of lethal force was proportionate to the requirements of law enforcement and necessary, there must be a “thorough, prompt and impartial investigation” (Principle 9 of the Principles on the Effective Prevention and Investigation of Extra-legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions). This principle was reiterated by the 61st session of the Commission on Human Rights in Resolution 2005/34 on “Extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions” (OP 4), stating that all States have “the obligation … to conduct exhaustive and impartial investigations into all suspected cases of extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions”. The Commission added that this obligation includes the obligation “to identify and bring to justice those responsible, …, to grant adequate compensation within a reasonable time to the victims or their families and to adopt all necessary measures, including legal and judicial measures, in order to … prevent the recurrence of such executions”.
It is my responsibility under the mandate provided to me by the Commission on Human Rights, and extended by the Human Rights Council, to seek to clarify all cases brought to my attention. Since I am expected to report on this case to the Human Rights Council, I would be grateful for your cooperation and your observations on the following matters:
1. Are the allegations in the above summary of the events accurate?
2. What were the instructions given to the security forces before and during the above mentioned operations by the police?
3. Please provide details of any investigation or inquiry that been launched into the above incidents
4. Will those injured by security forces and the family members of those killed be compensated?


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