Minister Tseng says executions will be carried out Minister Tseng says executions will be carried out

DEATH PENALTY::The minister of justice did not give a timetable for executions, but said he had not received instructions to commute any sentences

Staff Writer, with CNA

Fri, Dec 17, 2010 - Page 2

Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) yesterday said the government would definitely carry out executions of death row convicts once all their legal avenues have been exhausted.

“We will carry out the executions if no requirements for retrials, extraordinary appeals or Constitutional interpretations are involved,” Tseng said at a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Judiciary and Organic Laws and Statutes Committee.

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Wu Yu-sheng (吳育昇) said executions of death row inmates should begin immediately after the Lunar New Year holiday at the latest, to convince the public that the government has no plans to stop executions.

The ministry executed four death row convicts on April 30, Taiwan’s first executions since 2005. Since then, none of the country’s 44 death row inmates have been put to death.

The issue of capital punishmennt was highlighted earlier this year when then-minister of justice Wang Ching-feng (王清峰) insisted on promoting the abolition of the death penalty and refused to sign death warrants.

Wang was forced to resign on March 11 following an outcry from victims of violent crime and their families.

Tseng, however, said he was not sure “when and where the next executions will take place.”

Wu also demanded that death row inmates and criminal felons should not be included on any list for sentence commutations.

As the Republic of China will celebrate its centennial next year, there have been calls for sentence reductions as part of the celebrations.

Tseng said his ministry “has not received any instruction from President Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) for such a sentence commutation program,” and added that it would take four to five months for his ministry to deal with the matter should the president decide to issue such a directive.

Sentence reductions or amnesties fall under the jurisdiction of the president.