(MENAFN - Jordan Times) While Jordan has not applied the death sentence since 2006, in respect for international calls for the abolition of the death penalty, it is not completely off the hook due to the fact the death sentence is still being given and applied by the Criminal Court.
The fact that the execution of people found guilty of the commission of very serious crimes has been "suspended" in deference to Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), which Jordan signed and ratified in 1977, as well as Article 2 of the Second Optional Protocol to ICCPR, that Jordan has yet to sign or ratify, does not absolve the country completely.
Neither does is hide its desire to appear complying with the calls for the abolition of the capital punishment.
The UN Human Rights Committee mandated to monitor the application of the ICCPR found, as far back as the mid1990s, that people whose death punishment is suspended and are left "on death row" are in effect being tortured and subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
This finding suggest that suspension of the death penalty, rather than its abolition, runs counter to ICCPR's Article 7 which states that "no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment".
In other words, in order for Jordan to move completely in the direction of the objectives of the Second Protocol of the ICCPR, it must commute death penalty sentences to a lesser punishment immediately after they are rendered or, better still, courts should automatically commute their sentences where the capital punishment is legal to life imprisonment.
According to this jurisprudence, leaving convicted people on death row is in violation of Article 7 of the ICCPR.
The preamble paragraph of its Second Protocol claims that "the abolition of the death penalty would contribute to the enforcement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights".
I have a reservation here; one cannot be sure ending the capital punishment does indeed contribute to human dignity and the progressive development of human rights.
Human dignity of who, one may ask? It clearly does not help the right to life of victims of first-degree crimes!
Even more interesting is the proposition that whereas the Second Protocol aims to abolish the death penalty altogether, it allows for the entry of a reservation thereto.
Article 2 of this protocol stipulates that "no reservation is admissible to the present Protocol, EXCEPT for a reservation that provides for the application of the death penalty in time of wars pursuant to a conviction for a most serious crime committed during wartime".
So the death penalty is not outlawed in absolute terms.