Tue, Mar 23, 2010 - Page 3 News List

Ex-justice minister criticizes possible restart of executions

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER

Former minister of justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) yesterday accused Premier Wu Den-yih (吳敦義) of hypocrisy after he said the “most evil” inmates on death row should be executed.

Wang’s criticism came as newly appointed Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) took office yesterday.

Wang did not take part in Tseng’s inaugural ceremony as is customary, but instead attended SET TV talk show Go, New Taiwan, where she criticized the government’s likely resumption of executions.

“If one more bullet is fired, all the previous efforts of President Ma Ying-jeou’s (馬英九) administration will have been for nothing,” Wang said on the show.

As the Ma government signed two international covenants on human rights last year, and praised their integration into local law, Wang said Taiwan’s human rights standards should now be equal to those of the most advanced nations. The two covenants stipulate that signatory states should eventually abolish the death penalty or first suspend executions, she said.

In other words, any further executions would be both unconstitutional and a direct violation of the terms of the covenants, she said.

Asked to comment on Wu’s comments about executing the most evil convicts, Wang said on TV that it was hypocritical.

Wang tendered her resignation on March 11 after the Presidential Office said death sentences that have been handed down must be carried out and that any suspension of executions should follow the law.

This was a response to Wang’s comments on March 9 that she would not execute any of the inmates on death row during her term as minister of justice.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said yesterday that he expected Tseng to swiftly sign enact execution orders.

Taiwan currently has 44 inmates on death row, but the Ministry of Justice has not approved an execution since December 2005.

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