Two Death Sentences in One Week: PCHR Demands Respect for Palestine’s International Obligations to Abolish Death Penalty
Date: 23 June 2022
Time: 08:00 GMT
On Wednesday, 22 June 2022, the Court of Appeal in Gaza Strip issued a death sentence by hanging against (H. B.), amending a previous life imprisonment sentence issued against him after being convicted of the murder of (B. A.) on 14 August 2014.
Moreover, on 20 June 2022, the Military Court in the Gaza Strip issued a death sentence by hanging against (N. S.), from Khan Yunis, after convicting him of collaborating with hostile entities. It is worth noting that (N. S.) was arrested by Gaza security services in 2018 and was brought to trial at that time.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) affirms its condemnation of all murder crimes and its total support with the families of victims and importance of the rule of law. Also, PCHR clearly denounces the collaboration and affirms the importance of prosecuting its perpetrators for being involved in crimes committed by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) in Palestine. In the meantime, PCHR reiterates that death penalty is not the only mean to achieve justice or deter such crimes; rather, it is an inhumane way that conflicts with Palestine’s international legal obligations under the 1989 Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), aiming at the abolition of the death penalty.
PCHR expresses its deep concern over intensifying life imprisonment to death sentence, that has been reoccurred this year, as this was the sixth sentence of its kind.
PCHR denounces referring civilians to appear before the Military Judiciary regardless of any justifications and stresses that every citizen has the right to appear before his natural judge according to Article (30) of the 2003 Palestinian Basic Law.
Accordingly, the death sentences issued in 2022 in Gaza rise to thirteen, and two sentences issued in affirmation of former death sentences. The total number of death sentences issued in the Palestinian territory since 1994 reached 265; 30 in the West Bank and 235 in the Gaza Strip. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 176 sentences were issued after the 2007 Palestinian political division.
Since the establishment of the PA in 1994, 41 death sentences were executed: 39 in the Gaza Strip, and two in the West Bank. Of those executed in the Gaza Strip, 28 were conducted without the ratification of the Palestinian President in violation of Palestinian law. In this
context, PCHR stresses the need to refrain from ratifying death sentences in a prelude to abolishing this punishment from the Palestinian legislations.
PCHR stresses that the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights is biding to Palestine, including the Gaza Strip. Therefore, PCHR calls on the authorities in the Gaza Strip not to use the death penalty and replace it with a life sentence with hard labor.
PCHR also calls upon the Palestinian President to issue a law by decree to suspend the use of legal articles related to the death penalty in the Palestinian that conflict with Palestine’s obligations under the ICCPR Protocol aiming at abolishing the death penalty.