Index to Legal Observations
This page indexes sections of the annual reports of the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions that discuss legal issues in depth. Please note that only reports from the past few years have been indexed thus far. For earlier years, refer to the official reports of the Special Rapporteur.
Reports Issued August 2007
Reports Issued January 2007
Reports Issued September 2006
Reports Issued February 2006
This report deals in depth with the obligation to publish information on the administration of the death penalty and with the obligation to provide transparency to convicts and their families throughout the post-conviction process. It explores the legal framework and surveys current state practice, addressing common rationales for secrecy, including national security and the convict's privacy.
Briefly discusses how the principle of transparency is central to the elimination of extrajudicial executions.
Discusses the role of national-level investigations of alleged violations of international law by the armed or security forces and explains what is required for these to be credible and acceptable.
Summarizes the conclusions of the report on Transparency and the imposition of the death penalty (above).
Analyzes the obligation to conduct independent and impartial investigations into possible violations of the right to life during situations of armed conflict and occupation, the obligation to punish those individuals responsible for violations in a manner commensurate with the gravity of their crimes, and the obligation for States to undertake the systematic supervision and periodic investigation necessary to ensure that their institutions, policies, and practices ensure the right to life as effectively as possible.
Explains the legal standards regulating the use of lethal force against suspected suicide bombers and discusses the threat to human rights posed by the rhetoric of "shoot to kill."
Reports Issued December 2004
Discusses recent actions taken by the international community.
Analyzes the legal implications of targeted killings, the applicability of human rights law to situations of armed conflict and occupation, and the relationship between human rights law and humanitarian law.
Notes that in many countries no statistics are available as to executions, or as to the numbers or identities of those detained on death row, and little if any information is provided to those who are to be executed or to their families. And explains that, while countries that have maintained the death penalty are not prohibited by international law from making that choice, they have a clear obligation to disclose the details of their application of the penalty.
In light of the risk of wrongful executions, calls upon those countries that retain the death penalty "to undertake regular periodic reviews, staffed by persons independent of the criminal justice apparatus, to evaluate the extent to which international standards have been complied with and to consider any evidence (such as DNA) that might be available which casts doubt upon the guilt of an executed person."
Discusses legislation that provides for the death sentence to be mandatory in certain circumstances, preventing judges from taking into account individual circumstances and differing degrees of moral reprehensibility.
Analyzes the application of human rights law to abuses committed by four types of non-State actor: