Grenada tells Human Rights session that death penalty is prohibited

by Linda Straker

  • Grenada will not be executing lone prisoner currently on death row
  • Grenada has not conducted an execution in more than 40 years
  • Section six of Juvenile Justice Act mandates flogging or whipping shall not impose on a child

Grenada has given an assurance to the international community that it will not be executing the lone prisoner who is currently on death row, nor will it conduct executions in the future.

“The Grenada delegation wishes to advise that this prisoner in question has been on death row in excess of five years and based on the decision of our Highest Court, this death sentence can no longer be carried out,” Robert Branch, Senior Legal Counsel at the Ministry of Legal Affairs, said while facing questions and recommendations from various members of the United Nations during Grenada’s Universal Periodic Review (UPR) which was held in Geneva on Monday.

Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David, who is also a lawyer by profession and is leading Grenada’s delegation for Grenada’s third UPR cycle, told the session that repealing the death penalty within the laws of the land was among initiatives covered in the 2016 failed referendum, but despite the majority of the people’s objection, Grenada has not conducted an execution in more than 40 years.

“Grenada is a de facto abolitionist state with a de facto moratorium with effect since 1978. In addition to this, the Jury Council of the Privy Council, the Highest Appellate Court of Grenada has upheld that the mandatory death penalty is unconstitutional and has continued to place emphasis of the privacy of life,” David told the session, in response to the many states who recommended the removal of that law on the books.

The Foreign Affairs Minister also told states which objected to Grenada having corporal punishment against children on its law books, that removal steps had already started because the Juvenile Justice Act already prohibited such penalties to children. “Although Grenada has in its domestic laws occasions where corporal punishment is allowed, the government will continue to raise public awareness in order to discontinue the practice. It is noted that the Juvenile Justice Act of 2012 which deals with sentencing of a child after a finding of guilty by a court, explicitly prohibited corporal punishment,” David said. The session was broadcast live via the United National Webcast system.

Section six of the Juvenile Justice Act mandates that a sentence of flogging or whipping shall not impose on a child. In accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child which Grenada ratified on 5 November 1990, a child is defined as any person under the age of 18.

“It is noted also that a complete ban on corporal punishment is one of the recommendations coming out from the 2018 assessment of child protection mechanism in Grenada that will contribute to strengthening the prevention mechanism to desist and eventually eradicate child sexual abuse,” David said.

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