25 July, 2012

Warren Lee Hill ~ USA ~ State of Georgia ~ Capital punishment

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The execution, by injection of a single drug, of Warren Hill (aged 52) was stayed by the Supreme Court of Georgia, USA- see The Guardian Monday 23rd July

Hill was sentenced to death in 1991 after a Lee County jury convicted him of murder in the 1990 bludgeoning to death of a fellow prison inmate, Joseph Handspike. At the time, Hill was serving a life prison sentence for the 1985 shooting death of his 18-year-old girlfriend, Myra Sylvia Wright.

Irrespective of general arguments relating to whether the death penalty should be used at all, there are particular reasons why Hill should not be executed.  The arguments are well summarised in an article in The Guardian 23rd July .  The State of Georgia was the first State in the USA to ban the execution of mentally disabled prisoners.  However, the problem lies in the standard of proof demanded by Georgia.  The prisoner has to prove "beyond a reasonable doubt" that he has learning difficulties.  It appears that Georgia is the only State to apply this high standard.  Other States which continue to apply the death penalty would not carry out an execution where the disability was shown on the "preponderance of the evidence."  Hill has met the latter test.

As the Guardian article states: -

17 July, 2012

International Criminal Court - Lubanga sentenced

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The conviction of Thomas Lubanga Dyilo was the subject of a post on 12th March 2012 - here.  He has been sentenced to 14 years imprisonment - The Guardian 10th July.   The announcement from the International Criminal Court is here and the decision on sentence (pdf 51 pages) is here.

Judge Odio Benito dissented in part and would have imposed a 15 year sentence.  He disagreed with the view of the majority who disregarded the damage caused to the victims and their families, particularly as a result of the harsh punishments and sexual violence suffered by the victims of the crimes.

Under Article 78(3) of the Statute, when the person has been convicted for more than one crime "the Court shall pronounce a sentence for each crime and a joint sentence specifying the total period of imprisonment".

Iraq Inquiry ~ Chilcot ~ Report delayed perhaps 2 years

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The Iraq Inquiry - under the chairmanship of Sir John Chilcot - was expected to report during 2012 but publication of a report is to be delayed and may not appear until 2014.  What has brought about this state of affairs?

The delay seems to arise for three reasons - (a) the amount of material to be analysed; (b) the process known as "Maxwellisation" and (c) problems in getting government to agree to certain material being published either in the eventual report or alongside that report.

Statement on the Inquiry website:

The Inquiry website states that the Inquiry has concluded its public hearings and is currently analysing the written and oral evidence it has received and drafting its report.

Pulling together and analysing the evidence and identifying the lessons, for a report that covers so wide and complex a range of issues and a time period of some nine years, is a significant task. Very considerable progress has already been made, but there is still much to be done.