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Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

Universal-MigrationHRlaw-PG-no-6-Publications-PractitionersGuide-2014-eng

136 | PRACTITIONERS

136 | PRACTITIONERS GUIDE No. 6prohibition of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishmentcan also enter into play in cases of transfer with risk of imposition of thedeath penalty as “the imposition of a death sentence on a person afteran unfair trial is to subject that person wrongfully to the fear that he/she will be executed in violation of article 7 [ICCPR].” 427 Furthermore,the Committee has found that execution by gas asphyxiation did notmeet the test of “least possible physical and mental suffering”, and wasin violation of Article 7 ICCPR. 428The European Court of Human Rights has regularly found violations ofArticle 3 ECHR (freedom from torture and inhuman or degrading treatmentor punishment) in cases of refoulement to face the death penalty,especially where the penalty would be preceded by time on deathrow. 429 However, it has also considered such expulsions a violation ofthe right to life, enshrined in Article 2 ECHR. Thus, it has stated that “incircumstances where there are substantial grounds to believe that theperson in question, if extradited, would face a real risk of being liableto capital punishment in the receiving country, Article 2 implies an obligationnot to extradite the individual”. 430 Even more strongly, the Courthas considered that, “if an extraditing State knowingly puts the personconcerned at such high risk of losing his life as for the outcome tobe near certainty, such an extradition may be regarded as “intentionaldeprivation of life”, prohibited by Article 2 of the Convention”. 431The European Court has recently stated that, “in respect of those Stateswhich are bound by it, the right under Article 1 of Protocol No. 13 not tobe subjected to the death penalty, which admits of no derogation andapplies in all circumstances, ranks along with the rights in Articles 2and 3 as a fundamental right, enshrining one of the basic values of thedemocratic societies making up the Council of Europe.” 432 Moreover, theCourt has suggested that the high level of ratification of Protocol 13, aswell as State Practice in observing the moratorium on capital punishment“are strongly indicative that Article 2 has been amended so as toprohibit the death penalty in all circumstances.” 433As to when the death penalty will involve inhuman and degrading treatmentor punishment, the European Court has specified that “[t]he man-427 Kwok Yin Fong v. Australia, CCPR, op. cit., fn. 347, para. 9.4.428 Ng v. Canada, CCPR, op. cit., fn. 426, para. 16.4.429 Al-Sadoon and Mufti v. United Kingdom, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 391, para. 137.430 Kaboulov v. Ukraine, ECtHR, Application No. 41015/04, Judgment of 19 November 2009.431 Ibid., para. 99.432 Al-Sadoon and Mufti v. United Kingdom, ECtHR, op. cit., fn. 391, para. 118. 42 of the 47 Councilof Europe Member States have ratified Protocol 13, and another three have signed it therebyengaging not to act in a way that defeats the object and purpose of the treaty until ratification(Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (VCLT), Vienna, 23 May 1969, Article 18).433 Ibid., para. 120.

MIGRATION AND INTERNATIONAL HUMAN RIGHTS LAW | 137ner in which [the death penalty] is imposed or executed, the personalcircumstances of the condemned person and a disproportionality to thegravity of the crime committed, as well as the conditions of detentionwhile awaiting execution, are examples of factors capable of bringingthe treatment or punishment received by the condemned person withinthe proscription under Article 3 [. . .] as a general principle, the youth ofthe person concerned is a circumstance which is liable, with others, toput in question the compatibility with Article 3 of measures connectedwith a death sentence [. . .].” 434The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights found that sendingback asylum-seekers to face a risk of being killed subsequent to theirattempt to seek asylum abroad constituted a violation of their right tolife under Article I of the American Declaration on Rights and Dutiesof Man. 435 This principle also applies to migrants, who are not asylum-seekersstricto sensu, but who risk summary, arbitrary or extrajudicialexecution in their country of destination. The obligation alsoarises when the person to be sent has been intercepted on the highseas and returned to the country of departure. 436e) The death row phenomenonOn the “death row phenomenon”, the Human Rights Committee hasstated that “prolonged periods of detention under a severe custodialregime on death row cannot generally be considered to constitute cruel,inhuman or degrading treatment if the convicted person is merelyavailing himself of appellate remedies.” 437 In each particular case, “theCommittee will have regard to the relevant personal factors regardingthe author, the specific conditions of detention on death row, andwhether the proposed method of execution is particularly abhorrent.” 438In Soering v. United Kingdom, the European Court of Human Rightsdefined its view on the death row phenomenon: “having regard to thevery long period of time spent on death row in such extreme conditions,with the ever present and mounting anguish of awaiting execution ofthe death penalty, and to the personal circumstances of the applicant,especially his age and mental state at the time of the offence, the applicant’sextradition to the United States would expose him to a realrisk of treatment going beyond the threshold set by Article 3. A furtherconsideration of relevance is that in the particular instance the legiti-434 Shamayev and Others v. Georgia and Russia, ECtHR, Application No. 36378/02, Judgmentof 12 April 2005, para. 333.435 Haitian Interdictions Case, IACHR, op. cit., fn. 46, para. 168.436 Ibid., para. 169.437 Kindler v. Canada, CCPR, op. cit., fn. 426, para. 15.2.438 Ibid., para. 15.3; See also, Ng v. Canada, CCPR, op. cit., fn. 426, para. 16.1.

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    ISBN 978-92-9037-151-X

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