We believe the death penalty, however administered, will almost always violate universally accepted and absolute human rights, namely, the right to life and the right not to be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
What we do
The work of The Death Penalty Project originally began in 1992 concentrating on appeals in individual capital cases from the Caribbean and applications to international human rights tribunals. Since 2003 we have also been assisting lawyers and NGOs in a number of African and Asian countries in criminal and constitutional cases being brought on behalf of prisoners facing the death penalty. The organisation aims to achieve its objectives in four main ways:
- Free legal representation and advice. For individual prisoners under sentence of death in Caribbean countries who have exhausted all other domestic appeals we will provide pro bono representation in applications to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London, which is still the final Court of Appeal for all English-speaking Caribbean countries, save for Barbados, Belize and Guyana. For prisoners in other jurisdictions, or for jurisdictions that do not retain the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council as their final Court of Appeal, we provide legal advice in criminal appeals and constitutional challenges to the death penalty.
- Strategic litigation. Cases are brought before regional and international human rights tribunals seeking appropriate remedies where there are violations of international human rights law. This serves to promote minimum fair trial guarantees, and to develop human rights standards restricting the imposition and implementation of the death penalty.
- Consultation and training. We advise and enter into discussion with governments, members of the legal profession and NGOs in any jurisdiction on questions of domestic and international human rights law concerning the imposition and application of the death penalty.
- Research. Our ground-breaking legal work is consolidated through research studies, publications, training and education, particularly for those members of the legal profession involved in the defence and prosecution of capital cases as well as members of the medical profession involved in assessments in capital cases. We also coordinate Judicial Colloquiums and themed workshops for members of the Judiciary.
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