56 Pro Death Penalty Quotes by Attorneys

“I am in favour of capital punishment if the execution of the sentence is immediate. The purpose of the death penalty is to send out a message to society.”

Chief public prosecutor Ujjwal Nikam said the trio's crimes had shown "extreme brutality" and resulted in the "massacre of innocent people".

"I am afraid that it would be a mockery of justice if the death penalty is not imposed. And therefore I pleaded that there are maximum aggravating circumstances, which supersede the mitigating circumstances. And there is not a single mitigating circumstance which speaks in favor of the accused, and therefore all the accused deserve (the) death penalty." Ujjwal Nikam, DPP from India on the 2003 Mumbai Attackers

On Monday 21 February 2011, The Bombay High Court upheld the sentence of the Pakistani terrorist, Kasab: ‘It is victory of truth. He deserves only death penalty.’

On Monday 21 February 2011, The Bombay High Court upheld the sentence of the Pakistani terrorist, Kasab: 'This is a victory of justice and defeat of drama by Pakistani terrorist Kasab,'

Addressing mediapersons, he said, “The storm of terror unleashed by Kasab and his accomplices has finally ended' and there would be mourning and breastbeating in the camps of his handlers.”

In his briefing - in which he called Kasab a 'monster' and 'demon' and also threw in a couplet to get a resounding round of applause - Nikam said the accused frequently attempted to misguide the prosecution and investigators, changed his statements at regular intervals and even pleaded for a life term at the far end of the trial.

'However, nothing worked and we managed to foil all his designs,' Nikam said. He also said he would recommend appealing against the acquittal of the two Indian co-accused, Fahim Ansari and Sabahuddin Ahmed, by the court.

Saturday 9 February 2013 - Welcoming the hanging of 2001 Parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, eminent lawyer Ujjwal Nikam on Saturday said that the judicial procedures have taken too much time, but it is a historic decision.

Nikam, who has been Special Public Prosecutor in several high-profile cases, including 26/11 Mumbai terror attack case, said that if the decision were taken earlier, we would have been able to clear-cut massage to the anti-national forces.

"The decision has come late, but it is a historic decision. First of all we have been able to show that we can take concrete steps against terrorism, and second thing is that we have taken a tough decision with the consensus of all the major political parties," said Nikam.

Ujjwal Nikam (born March 30, 1953) is the Special Public Prosecutor for the Mumbai terror attacks that occurred in November 2008 (the Ajmal Kasab Case). He has worked as a Special Public Prosecutor on various high profile cases including the Bombay blasts case of 1993, the Gulshan Kumar murder case, the Pramod Mahajan murder trial, the Gateway of India blasts case of 2003, the Kherlanji massacre Dalit murder case and the Nadeem extradition case which was fought in London.

“You take the argument about the death penalty. It's phrased entirely in human rights terms in the West. But you have to remember that in 1947, when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was promulgated, the West had just held the Nuremburg war crimes trials, the Tokyo war crimes trials and the war crimes trials in Singapore. The war criminals were hanged. There was no question at that time that the death penalty was not against human rights.”

Monday 12 November 2012 - Former attorney general Walter Woon, says compassion has nothing to do with it. “It apparently seems to be the intention to encourage drug mules to give information that can be used by drug authorities around the region… There is zero tolerance amongst the population for drug offences, I haven't been able to detect any sympathy for drug traffickers,” said Woon.

Monday 12 November 2012 - The government is already under pressure from the United Nations, Human Rights agencies and foreign governments, but Walter Woon believes their impact is overstated. “As long as major countries like the US, Japan, India, China retain the death penalty, it's hard to accept that there's an international consensus as some people pretend there is. The pressure from abroad is often seen as a minority trying to bludgeon other people into accepting their views,” said Woon.

Walter Woon Cheong Ming (Chinese: 温长明; pinyin: Wēn Chángmíng; born 12 September 1956) was appointed Second Solicitor-General in 2006 and Solicitor-General the following year. He served as Attorney-General of Singapore between 2008 and 2010, and then returned to academia.

There comes a point when a man must refuse to answer to his leader if he is also to answer to his own conscience. [Statement as UK prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crime Trials (1945), as quoted in The Nuremberg Trials (1983) by Ann Tusa and John Tusa, ISBN 0815412622]

Hartley William Shawcross, Baron Shawcross , GBE, PC, KC (4 February 1902 - 10 July 2003) was a British barrister and politician, probably most famous for his role as the lead British prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes tribunal.

The main driving force behind the proposal to give crime victims the right to address the courts is lawyer Isao Okamura, 77, himself a crime victim. His wife was murdered in October 1999. Okamura today heads the Tokyo-based National Association of Crime Victims and Surviving Families, an organisation representing more than 3,000 families which argues that crime victims are getting a raw deal in Japan.

Okamura was stirred into action when the man found guilty of murdering his wife was given a life sentence rather than being sent to the gallows in 2001. "The ruling was unacceptable to me - both as a husband and a lawyer," he said in a recent newspaper interview.

“Any debate should take into account the lifelong suffering that the victims’ families must bear,” said Isao Okamura, whose wife was murdered over a work dispute in 1997, in an interview with NHK.

Okamura cited a case in which a man who murdered his wife got life imprisonment, was released on parole, and went on to kill again.

"Those opposing the death penalty say killing a murderer does not bring the victim back to life. I would say, 'Because a victim doesn't come back to life, you (the murderer) have to give up your life,' “he said.

Isao Okamura is an attorney at law, originally from the Kochi Prefecture in Shikoku, Japan. He has served in a number of posts, including serving as President of the Daiichi Tokyo Bar Association, Vice President of Japan Federation of Bar Associations, and a Committee Member of the Legislative Council. He also participated as an expert member at the Conference to Implement the Basic Plan for Crime Victims and at the Conference to Promote Crime Victim-related Policies. In January of 2000, he established the National Association of Crime Victims and Surviving Families (Aso no Kai) and assumed the position of Chairperson. He has been energetically working for the realization of victims’ rights and for restoration for those who are victimized.

But Mutale Musonda, 44, a prosecutor in the Zambia Police Service, disagrees with the anti-death penalty activists. He wants capital punishment to continue because it is the best way to rid the world of people without respect for other people’s life.

"The issue of death is painful but logic. It demands that if you kill, you should also be killed.” he says. “Every punishment should equate the type crime committed.”

Mutale Musonda (born in 1966 or 1967) is a prosecutor in the Zambia Police service.

Manslaughter is usually committed in anger without a plan. Angry people are not able to control themselves despite the fear of a capital sentence. However, some people give up their plans to kill for fear of death. It is the reason for the increase in murder after abolishing the death penalty in England. (Should Korea end the death penalty? - It is a choice to save people’s lives 2011-06-08 19:00)

Car accidents kill hundreds of thousands people every year in Korea. These deaths are, of course, irrevocable. So should cars be stopped or driven below 30km per hour in order to avoid traffic accidents? No one would insist on that. Capital punishment is the same. Execution of death sentence is irrevocable so judges should be more deliberate when it comes to the capital sentence. Abolishing the death penalty is not the solution. (Should Korea end the death penalty? - It is a choice to save people’s lives 2011-06-08 19:00)


It is said that dictators have killed people using the death penalty in order to get rid of political opponents. Some say the death penalty should be discarded to protect political victims. In some countries, including Korea, such cases have occurred. However, abolishing the death penalty is not the solution to this problem. Dictators can kill people without the capital sentence. The solution is to set up a democratic government. (Should Korea end the death penalty? - It is a choice to save people’s lives 2011-06-08 19:00)

Accepting the death penalty can be a reasonable option to save potential victims’ lives. Capital punishment is an inevitable choice to protect our lives. (Should Korea end the death penalty? - It is a choice to save people’s lives 2011-06-08 19:00)

Lee Jae-Kyo is a partner of Seoul Dasol Law Group and former professor at Inha University Law School.

“Even the most heinous offenders deserve a proper trial.” [Quoted in his autobiography, THE BEST I COULD]


Subhas Anandan (b. 1947, Kerala, India - ) is a prominent criminal defence lawyer in Singapore. He has appeared in numerous high-profile cases, including that of “one-eyed dragon” Tan Chor Jin and the kidney transplant case involving retail tycoon Tang Wee Sung. He is now a senior consultant in law firm KhattarWong and heads its criminal law department. He is a founding member and the first president of the Association of Criminal Lawyers of Singapore (ACLS). He is also the president of Cuesports Singapore, the national sports association for billiards, snooker and pool.
"A basic teaching is retribution. If someone evil does something bad, he has to atone with his own life. If you take a life, you have to give your own."
Tomoko Sasaki a former member of the Diet (Japan's parliament), an ex-prosecutor and a leading advocate of the death penalty in the LDP.

Dubai: Prosecutors are seeking capital punishment against seven suspects who were referred to court for kidnapping a marketing manager and stealing his Dh1.3 million after they posed as policemen.

The seven Asian suspects impersonated police personnel, kidnapped the manager after they shackled and threatened to kill him before they stole his money, according to senior prosecutor Abdullah Sultan Al Sharif.

"The maximum punishment of the crime of kidnap and confining someone's freedom is a capital punishment. We have referred the defendants to the Dubai Court of First Instance and asked for the implementation of the toughest punishment applicable," Al Sharif said yesterday. [Wednesday 21 March 2012]  

Abdullah Sultan Al Sharif is a Senior Prosecutor in the Dubai Courts.

The Godhra train burning (Hindi: गोधरा कांड) was a 2002 incident in which a sleeper coach on a passenger train was burned by Islamists in Godhra, Gujarat, India. 59 passengers died, all of them Hindu pilgrims coming from Ayodhya, and the event triggered widespread violence in Gujarat, resulting in the deaths of about 790 Muslims and 254 Hindus. In the very first police FIR (First Information Report), the incident was viewed as unplanned mob fury. However, a Special Investigating Team (SIT) of the Gujarat police argued that the coach was set on fire as a planned act by a Muslim group, who were said to have stockpiled 140 liters of petrol from the day before for the purpose of killing the kar sevaks. A commission set up by the Railways ministry reported in 2005 that the fire was almost certainly an accident, but the Gujarat High Court ruled formation of this enquiry commission by Railways as "illegal" and "unconstitutional". As of now all its probe results stand invalid. Another judicial committee, investigating charges under the Prevention of Terrorist Activities Act, opined in 2005 that the actions of the Muslim mob were most likely spontaneous and not planned. A commission set up by the Gujarat government upheld in 2008 the original SIT claims that it was a conspiracy. In February 2011, the court agreed that the incident was a planned conspiracy, and convicted 31 people of burning the train.


Public Prosecutor J M Panchal said those convicted should be hanged. Panchal argued, “The 59 karsevaks coming from Ayodhya who were burnt alive in Godhra were innocent. The 31 persons had conspired to set the S6 coach on fire. It was a pre-planned brutal murder, so all of them should be given death penalty.”


J M Panchal is the Public Prosecutor of Godhra, India.

Tuesday 1 March 2011 - “Today this is about who will stand up with decent, law-abiding citizens under daily attack and who will stand on the side of criminals. I call on my colleagues on the other side to stand with the victims of crime and not the perpetrators of crime. Don’t hold T&T to ransom. Stand up with the 91 per cent of T&T that wants the death penalty. If not you will be signing your own death warrant and your seats will dwindle to nine per cent in the next general election. Mercy to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent.”

“This was a simplistic approach to a complex problem as the notion of human rights should not be reduced or judged by reference to its position on the death penalty,” Ramlogan said. “In any event, there was not any international consensus on the relationship or consequences of the implementation of the death penalty (which is reserved for the most heinous crimes) and its respect for human rights.”  

Ramlogan said on Tuesday 7 August 2012, Government is in full support of the implementation of the death penalty because it still part of the law in Trinidad and Tobago.

"I do not think that the Government will be in support of the abolition of the death penalty," Ramlogan said, in a telephone interview.

Asked if Government, because of its stance, will consider severing ties with international human rights bodies, Ramlogan said it is not a consideration.

"This is not a new position that some international bodies have taken. It is a very old debate and there have not been any such moves by either party. There are several countries where the death penalty remains valid law. There is no international consensus that the death penalty is cruel and inhumane," Ramlogan said.

Sunday 3 March 2013 - Attorney General Anand Ramlogan has called for the resumption of the death penalty. Speaking to reporters after the launch of the Constitutional Reform at the University of the West Indies St Augustine campus, Ramlogan said the Government’s efforts are being stymied by the Opposition’s refusal to support this initiative. Ramlogan said the Government was committed to the death penalty, but needed the necessary support.

Ramlogan said on three occasions the Government had asked the Opposition for its proposals “on how this can be done” since they were not opposed to the death penalty. “I did not have the courtesy of a response. But I want to renew that request to the Leader of the Opposition. The death penalty is one that remains a sore point for the public.”

The AG believes the time has come to pass tough legislation and to consider the removal of trial by juries. Over the past week, the Government has announced several crime fighting measures—from the reintroduction of joint army patrols, the use of army officers to fight crime, and now the abolition of jury trials for blood crimes.

“We cannot be afraid of change. Trinidadians are very comfortable people and we don’t like to step out of our comfort zone. But right now that zone of comfort is becoming increasingly smaller as the bandits encroach on the turf that used to be once occupied by law abiding citizens.”  The Government, Ramlogan said, can no longer allow a minority of criminals to hold the country to ransom.

Meanwhile, Ramlogan, also said several countries operated without a jury system and there was no downgrade. He listed Singapore, India and Holland as some countries. He said, “It has not resulted in any downgrade. Singapore is looked upon as a model to the rest of the world.” He said when a person was convicted or set free by a jury, that person could make an appeal to the court.  

Thursday 14 March 2013 - Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said the popular public view that the mandatory death penalty should be reserved for gruesome murders and a discretionary system be used for other types was in accordance to what the Government proposed. He said the Opposition rejected that proposal when the Government presented it before Parliament.

He added: “The Government is of the view the death penalty may not be applied for all murders, given the wide variety of circumstances. Death should be reserved for the most heinous crimes.” 

Anand Ramlogan (born 1973) is a human rights attorney-at-law in Trinidad, and the Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago. He is married to His Trinidadian Wife Nalini Ramlogan and has two kids, he is a graduate of Queen Mary and Westfield College in the University of London and University of Westminster and the second youngest Attorney General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago. He has fought and won many landmark cases that have led to many changes in the law. He has represented many a downtrodden citizen and is re-defining the law in the area of unfairness and discrimination. He is one of the youngest barristers from the Commonwealth to address the Law lords of the Privy Council and is a door tenant at Charter Chambers in London. His cases have been the subject of many articles in international law journals and he gives guest lectures in various universities in London. He now practices law with Sir Fenton Ramsahoye, Former Attorney General of Guyana and Professor of Law. Most notably he along side attorney at law Haresh Ramnath leading the case[also trained Mr.Ramlogan] has fought for the Sanatan Dharma Maha Sabha against the Trinity Cross and for a Radio license. He also has fought and won for many public servants such as Devant Maharaj and Marlene Coudray in instance of abuse of power. In 2007 Ramlogan unsuccessfully contested the General Elections for the Congress of the People led by Winston Dookeran. On 26 May 2010 following the success of United National Congress led coalition party at the unexpected snap General Election, Ramlogan was appointed a Senator and Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago by the new and first female Prime Minister the Honourable Mrs. Kamla Persad-Bissessar. On appointment Ramlogan was reported to have said that "... the very same issues that I fought for — equality, fair play — will remain the same priority issues as Attorney General for this new Administration.” (see Trinidad Newsday 27 May 2010). He is the first member of Government to be appointed.

Wednesday 20 July 2011 - The newly elected Chairman of the Lagos State Branch of Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Taiwo Taiwo said yesterday that Nigeria was not yet ripe for the abolition of capital punishment from its penal system.

 Taiwo in a chat with LEADERSHIP said that since criminals who kill were merciless, they also deserve no mercy.

"It is part of our law and it remains part of our law. The criminals are too merciless. Why would you kill a man after you have already taken his money or his phone? I believe our society is not yet ripe for the abolition of the death sentence. Nigerians love life. Maybe that is why the level of killings is low compared to other countries. If Nigerians are allowed to own guns then you can abolish the death sentence. Because if you know that I own a gun, you would think twice before coming to kill me."


Taiwo Taiwo is the Chairman of the Lagos Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association. He was elected on Monday 18 July 2011. The Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) is the umbrella body of all lawyers admitted to practice law in Nigeria. Any lawyer who satisfies the members of the Body of Benchers that they have good character and proficiency in the Bar Final Examination from the Nigerian Law School is automatically admitted. The NBA was officially recognized by law in 1933. The association has a National Secretariat and 88 branches in the 36 states of Nigeria, with about 55,000 members as of 2010. Fourteen National Officers are appointed every two years. The National Executive Committee (NEC) manages the affairs of the association. The NEC is made up of the National Officers and representatives of all branches. The NBA holds annual general conferences and publishes various journals and newsletters reporting the work of its sections and committees.

It was reported on Thursday (29 December 2011) that the Human Rights Commission was proposing to impose a prison sentence instead of executing prisoners, and was planning to hand over its proposal early next year.

“There is a lot of social revulsion towards heinous crimes. We have to have a strong law imposed to curb crime,” Gamlath said.

He maintained that if an opinion poll were taken on the issue, Sri Lankans would vote in favour of the death penalty, adding that they would be angry if the death penalty was scrapped.

Suhada Gamlath is the Justice Ministry Secretary of Sri Lanka. He was appointed additional solicitor general on Friday 9 December 2011.


Monday 1 August 2011 - The two suspects arrested over the deadly April bombing in the Minsk metro could face the death penalty after being charged with terrorism, Belarus' deputy chief prosecutor said on Monday.

"The maximum punishment envisaged under the grave charge of terrorism is the death penalty," Andrei Shved told reporters, for the first time raising the possibility the accused could face capital punishment.

The 2011 Minsk Metro bombing occurred on 11 April 2011 when at least 14 people were killed and more than two hundred were injured in an explosion on the Minsk Metro, Belarus. The explosion happened at the central Oktyabrskaya station at 17:55 local time. Initially the cause of the explosion was unclear, but was found to have been a bomb containing nails and ball bearings. President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko asserted that the explosion was aimed at undermining "peace and stability" and hinted at possible foreign involvement but also ordered an emergency investigation of domestic weapon storage facilities. The Prosecution Office launched a criminal investigation and classified the event as a terrorist attack. Two suspects arrested on 13 April have confessed to the bombing according to Lukashenko, but are as yet unidentified by the authorities. According to him they also pleaded guilty to Vitebsk cafe and Victory day bombings but the motives remain unclear. According to the investigation, the bomb was unique and the foreign investigators also expressed great interest in it.


Andrei Shved is the Deputy Prosecutor General of the Republic of Belarus.

Tuesday 11 October 2011 - Molokomme has reportedly lashed out at the judges for attacking Botswana's judicial system, describing it among other things as "remarkably deficient and opaque". She said that "it was unfortunate that the judgment accepted uncritically and without assessment of their accuracy one-sided reports of international pressure groups, which are opposed to the death penalty".

"Botswana is proud of its judicial system, which has a universally acknowledged record of independence and integrity and its court of appeal is well respected around the globe and has, over the past years, been served by independent international jurists of repute, including, amongst others, South African George Bizos, all of whom served with distinction and took oath to uphold the constitution of Botswana," Molokomme said.  She stated that Botswana is not obliged to be like South Africa or any other country that has abolished the death penalty. But Ditshwanelo has faulted the Attorney General's response, saying that it stands by the report cited by the judges.


Dr Athaliah Molokomme is the Attorney General of the Republic of Botswana. Dr Athaliah Molokomme obtained her Bachelor of Laws degree from the University of Botswana and Swaziland in 1981, and a Masters in Law from Yale Law School, USA in 1983. From 1988 to 1991, she studied for a PhD in Law at Leiden University, the Netherlands. She taught law at the University of Botswana from 1981 until 1996, with periods of study leave in between, and has researched and published extensively in the fields of family law, women and law, customary law and employment law. For the past two decades, she has been a regular speaker at national, regional and international conferences, workshops and seminars in her areas of expertise. Dr Molokomme has served on several boards, commissions and professional organisations at national, regional and international levels. She is also a founding member of several organizations including Emang Basadi, Women and Law in Southern Africa (WLSA), and Women, Law and Development International (WLDI). Among the awards she has received are the Women’s Human Rights Award from Women, Law and Development International in 1993, and the Presidential Order of Meritorious Service for Exceptional Service to Botswana in 1999. From July 1998, she was founding head of the Gender Unit at the Secretariat of the Southern African Development Community (SADC), until May 2003 when she was appointed judge of the High Court of Botswana. In October 2005, she was appointed to her current position of Attorney General of the Republic of Botswana.

Thursday 13 October 2011 - “The death penalty is still lawful in Kenya and would continue to be applied as punishment for capital offenses such as treason, espionage, and robbery with violence and murder”, Attorney General Githu Muigai said here.

Speaking on Thursday after the High Court convicted two people, including a former Kenyan police officer and a business executive and ordered them to die by the noose, Muigai said the death penalty was never abolished in Kenya.

"Every person has a right to life, but the death penalty is still valid," said Muigai, who took over in August as the government’s legal advisor.

Kenya’s new constitution provides that every person has a right to life, a provision in the country’s bill of rights, largely characterized as one of the most progressive bills of rights in the world.

"The law says treason, murder and robbery with violence is punishable by death. The Judiciary is obliged to continue imposing the death penalty whenever the law says so," Muigai said in an interview with a local television station, Citizen.

Githu Muigai is the Attorney General of The Republic of Kenya. He holds a bachelor's Degree in Law degree from the University of Nairobi a masters degree in International Law from Columbia University School of Law and was awarded a doctorate degree in law in November 2002. Prior to becoming Attorney General Githu Muigai has served in the defunct Constitution of Kenya Review Commission and at the United Nations as Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance.

21 August 2009 - "Two people have been sentenced to capital punishment in Belarus in 2009. This measure is severe but fair," Ryhor Vasilevich told journalists in Minsk.

Ryhor Vasilevich was born in Minsk in 1955 and graduated from the law department of Belarusian State University in 1980, served as chairman of the Constitutional Court of Belarus between 1997 and 2008. He was relieved of the position on January 11, 2008. The presidential press office then explained that the head of state had made the decision because of the expiration of Mr. Vasilevich’s term of office and his going into retirement. However, after less than a month, on February 8, 2008, Mr. Vasilevich was appointed prosecutor general. He finished his term as prosecutor general on 20 September 2011.

Iraqi prosecutor Munqith al-Faroon, 53, discusses the execution of former dictator Saddam Hussein: “It isn't unlike the hunt. First you hunt down the animal, but once you look your prey in the eyes, you ultimately feel pity. That was the way I felt."

Munqith al-Faroon an Iraqi prosecutor who prosecuted Saddam Hussein.

Wed Oct 6, 2010 12:40pm GMT

BANJUL (Reuters) - Drug smugglers in Gambia will face the death penalty after a law passed late on Tuesday toughened sentences for narcotics offences in the West African nation.

Gambia, like other countries in the region lacking the resources to properly police borders, has been targeted by South American drug traffickers who use West Africa as a stopoff point on the way to Europe, law enforcement officials say.

Gambia has seen increasing evidence of drug smugglers at work in the country, said Justice Minister Edward Anthony Gomez, who introduced the measure to parliament.

Under the new law, anyone convicted of possessing more than 250 g of cocaine or heroin could be sentenced to death, a punishment which must be ratified by President Yahya Jammeh. The previous penalty for possession of that amount was a jail sentence of 30-40 years.

The harsher sentence "will serve as a deterrent to anyone wishing to use this country either as a transit or destination point for hard drugs," Gomez said.

The Gambia's amended act states that anyone caught with over 250 grammes of cocaine faces the death penalty if convicted. Those convicted of human trafficking will also face a death sentence.

"The menace of drug trafficking and the activities of major drug lords have started to rear their ugly heads in this jurisdiction in recent times," Attorney General and Justice Minister Edward Anthony Gomez told lawmakers.

"Therefore this bill seeks to nip the negative developments in the bud by providing sentences which will serve as deterent to anyone wishing to use this country either as a transit or destination point for hard drugs."

The bill also covers human trafficking, said Gomez. "Both the strategic location of The Gambia as a gateway to the Western world as well as our liberal immigration policy have attracted the attention of unscrupulous persons in using the country as a transit route for trafficking in persons."

The same Justice Minister, Edward Gomez, last year, shortly after the passing of the controversial law, defended the Gambia government’s decision to use “the strongest punishment legally available” to deter narco-traffickers.
"We should use draconian laws against criminals who are putting the life of the cream of the society (the young ones) at risk,” Gomez told participants at the opening ceremony of the 48th Ordinary Session of the African Commission on Human and People's Rights in Banjul in last November.
“We have the duty to protect our society," he stressed, adding that failure to do so will tantamount to an abdication of responsibility.

Edward Anthony Gomez was appointed as Attorney General and Minister of Justice on 19th March 2010 and sworn into office on 22nd March 2010.

Saturday 21 January 2012 - Maharaj, asked for a response, began with the reminder that the death penalty was not abolished and that it is still law. “That hasn’t changed. The problem is it is not being implemented. If it is the law it should be implemented.” “There is a lot of work to be done by the Government to implement it.” The former AG said one of the aspects of the law that needs fixing was that the judgement of the court had to be carried out within a certain time. Former death row convicts who were not executed after several years used this as a ground for the revoking of the sentence saying the long wait caused undue trauma.

He said the death penalty was implemented to act as a deterrent to others but said it was very difficult to ascertain whether it actually is. “Flaws in the criminal justice system, like procrastination, make criminals feel they can beat the hangman’s noose,” he said.

He noted that countries like Singapore and some American States use the death penalty as a deterrent to crime. “As soon as you land in Singapore’s airport, you are bombarded with notices warning that illegal smuggling of drugs is punishable by death. “In US States, you get the death penalty for crimes like kidnapping and terrorism.”

Sunday 29 April 2012 - The time has come for the Government to call a referendum to decide whether the death penalty should resume as the punishment for serious crimes committed in T&T. So says former attorney general Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj, who said criminals no longer respect the law.

And, Maharaj also warned that citizens must not allow themselves to believe appeals of criminal matters to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) would clear the way for the death penalty to resume. This he said was because the same principles of jurisprudence that the Privy Council applied in carrying out the death sentence are the principles the CCJ will follow.  

Maharaj, who under the United National Congress (UNC) administration presided over the death penalty imposed on convicted killer Dole Chadee and his gang, said the present criminal-justice system was not acting as a deterrent. In addition, Maharaj said insufficient funds was being spent on boosting the criminal system.

Admitting the issue has sparked controversy worldwide, with strong views on both sides, Maharaj said in T&T citizens are desperately seeking a solution. While statistics failed to show that the death penalty is a deterrent, he said in T&T the death penalty did have an effect on serious crimes and murder.

“When the Dole Chadee execution and others were carried out under the UNC administration, it is a matter on record that the crime level went down for a period of time,” he insisted. “Since then, people are looking at the death penalty in different ways with more people supporting the abolition of the death penalty.”

“However, because of the high crime rate in T&T people want a solution. A lot of people are thinking, if the criminals are made to suffer for the crimes committed, it would act as a deterrent.” Maharaj said history showed after the death penalty ceased, serious crimes escalated. “Society must know that the criminals are being punished for committing the crimes. The situation is now very bad and criminals do not have a fear that the death penalty would be carried out on them. If criminals can believe they can commit crimes and get away then you really do not have a deterrent.”

The delays in the court system, Maharaj said, also posed a challenge. Some death sentences are commuted when murderers are kept too long on death row. He explained: “Criminals believe they would not receive the maximum punishment for the crimes committed. As the former attorney general who presided over the State’s plan to carry out the death penalty, it was clear to me society believed if criminals were punished with the maximum punishment, the crimes would be reduced. When the death penalty was executed, serious crimes were reduced.” Maharaj said the criminal system was also being challenged by insufficient punishment being handed down for people committing non-capital offences. The criminal system, Maharaj said, also had to grapple with a low detection rate and a tardy judicial system.

He said the crime plan must not only focus on arresting criminals, but also ensure they are prosecuted. “One of the most effect ways of creating a deterrent is to let those know that once you committed the crime, you would be detected and expeditiously convicted in a short space of time,” Maharaj said.


Ramesh Maharaj is a Trinidad & Tobago politician. He had over 30 years experience in the legal profession having been admitted to practice at the English Bar in 1967. 

Those who appeal for mercy should also be merciful. Unfortunately, there appear to be persons born in human form, who are inhuman in their actions. Such persons cannot lay claim to the rights of a human being as by their very conduct they forfeit their right to such claims. A person who takes another’s life after executing a premeditated plan, without any enmity or any wrongdoing against such person by the victim, constitutes a grave threat to society. [Is There A Need For The Revival Of Capital Punishment In Sri Lanka? By Lakshman Indranath Keerthisinghe Attorney-at-Law on 30 October 2011]