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Abolition of the Death Penalty: A Tough Road ahead for India

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The movement against the death penalty in present-day India faces a tremendous challenge in terms of extensive public clamour for swift executions, removal of appeals, and even support for summary executions. 
With the imminent execution of the four convicts in the Delhi gang rape and murder case against the background of reactions to incidents in Hyderabad, Kathua and Unnao, harsher punishments are receiving tremendous public support, and politicians are only happy to oblige. The Supreme Court has issued administrative orders (1) to hear death sentence cases faster amidst misplaced concerns in the public that death row prisoners have too many loopholes in the law to exploit.
Framing the death penalty as a political–legal issue in India is not easy. Located within the wider spectrum of social and state violence in India, the exceptional nature of the cruelty of the death penalty is difficult to establish. 
The suffering inflicted by the death penalty is the constant and daily uncerta…

Ghana referendum will abolish death sentence, weaken President's war powers

Ghanaians would soon be called upon to decide in a referendum on the three critical reviews of portions of the 1992 constitution which are abolition of the death penalty, declaration of war by the President and the swearing-in of the President before parliament by the chief Justice.

The proposed amendments will replace the death penalty with life imprisonment whilst the declaration of war by the President will be subjected to parliamentary approval within 72 hours with two-thirds majority endorsing and that the President, under certain circumstances, should be sworn-in anywhere not before Parliament but by a high court judge.

Mrs. Estelle Appiah, a member of the Constitution Review Implementation Committee (CRIC), said this at the Central Regional edition of CRIC's regional stakeholder briefing on the recommendations for amendments of the constitution held at Elmina.

Mrs. Appiah said the referendum would be held alongside the local and district assembly elections to cut down cost and at least 40 % of the total voting population was expected to take part out of which 75 % votes would validate a particular position.

The entrenched constitutional provisions required a referendum where the general public would have a say, while those made under the non-entrenched clauses only required representatives of the people in parliament to endorse.

Other recommendations for amendment under the entrenched clauses are that the Prerogative of Mercy in offences such as high treason, armed robbery, murder and narcotic related offences would no longer be a reserve for the President but be determined by an independent committee to reduce favouritism and abuse of that power on the part of the President.

The Director of Programmes of the National Commission for Civic Education, Mr. Samuel Akowah Boateng, said the review was to strengthen the constitution to be practicable and urged the public to go out in their numbers and vote during the referendum.

Some participants at the briefing raised concerns about certain aspects of the review such as the abolition of the death penalty and the declaration of war arguing that the abolition of the death penalty could lead to high armed robbery cases.
 
Source: VibeGhana.com, June 25, 2014

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