Taiwan retains the death penalty for ordinary crimes.

Taiwan is not a member of the United Nations and therefore cannot formally sign or ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) or the First Optional Protocol to the ICCPR allowing for the right of individual petition nor the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. Nevertheless, in 2009, the Taiwan legislature passed an Act to Implement the ICCPR and the ICESCR into domestic law. The Act seeks to implement the full content of the ICCPR (and UN Human Rights Committee interpretations) within two years. By the end of the two-year period (December 2011), Taiwan still needs to reform domestic laws which are still not in compliance with the Covenants.

In 2008, the Executive Directors and Professor Roger Hood visited Taiwan at the invitation of the British Trade and Cultural Office to conduct a scoping exercise, with a view to developing programmes with local partner organisations designed to reform and restrict the implementation of death penalty. They met with key actors including the Minister of Justice, senior judges, prosecutors and defence lawyers. Meetings were also held with the leading NGO – The Taiwan Alliance Against the Death Penalty (TAEDP). The Executive Directors made a further visit to Taiwan in June 2009, in response to the decision to endorse the ICCPR.

In November 2009, the Executive Directors and Professor Roger Hood were invited to return to Taiwan, and conducted a training seminar at the Judges and Prosecutors’ Training Institute in Taipei. The seminar focused on global trends towards abolition of the death penalty, international human rights standards and sentencing principles. During this visit, meetings were also held with the members of the Judicial Yuan, the Speaker and members of the Legislative Yuan and the Bar Association of Taiwan. For further information, click here.