On Monday, 10 December 2018, The Permanent Military Court in Gaza City issued a death sentence by fire squad against M. ‘A. after being convicted with killing M. S. and both are from Gaza City.
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) stresses its firm position against the death penalty and calls upon the Palestinian President to issue a law by decree immediately to stop the death penalty to fulfill Palestine’s obligations under Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty, to which Palestine acceded in last June.
In 2018, the number of death sentences has so far risen to 15 sentences; 13 were new sentences and the 2 other sentences were one issued by the Military Court of Appeal upholding a previous sentence, while the other was issued by Court of Cassation. Thus, the total number of death sentences issued in the Palestinian Authority (PA) controlled areas has risen to 216 since 1994; 30 have been issued in the West Bank and 186 in the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 128 sentences have been issued since 2007.
PCHR confirms that any death sentence should not be applied without the Palestinian President’s ratification according to Article 109 of the 2003 Palestinian Basic Law, which stipulates that: “A death sentence pronounced by any court may not be implemented unless endorsed by the President of the Palestinian National Authority.” Moreover, Article (409) of the 2001 Criminal Procedural Law codifies the same rule. PCHR also emphasizes that the application of any death sentence without the ratification of the Palestinian President is considered an extra-judicial execution and those executing or issuing the sentence should be held accountable.
Since the establishment of the PA, 41 death sentences were applied, 39 of which were in the Gaza Strip and two in the West Bank. Among the sentences applied in the Gaza Strip, 28 have been applied since 2007 without the ratification of the Palestinian President in violation of the law.
PCHR is gravely concerned over the continued application of this inhuman punishment, which is in violation of Palestine’s obligations on the international level. PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian President to comply with Palestine’s international obligations and issue a decision by law to immediately halt this punishment.
PCHR also calls upon the authorities in the Gaza Strip to stop issuing death sentences and stresses that death penalty has no effect deterrent more than other penalties and the crime is committed for social, economic and political reasons, not only for the absence of deterrence.
PCHR calls upon the executive authorities in the Gaza Strip not to apply any death sentence, particularly in light of the Palestinian President stopping to ratify any death sentence since 2005.