Premier Jiang Yi-huah (江宜樺) said yesterday that the government is cautiously assessing scrapping capital punishment, but added that the current policy of executing death-row inmates remains unchanged.
The premier said the Criminal Code still stipulates capital punishment, although a number of people have advocated its scrapping and several European countries have often called for its abrogation.
Jiang said that many Taiwanese believe in the use of capital punishment as a way to deter crime.
“Currently, a majority of Taiwanese hold a positive view of capital punishment as a means to deter heinous crimes. The Ministry of Justice is constantly studying the issue, but our current policy has not changed,” the premier said.
He stressed that the government is adopting a cautious attitude and continues to review cases in order to avoid wrongful convictions or capital convictions with insufficient evidence.
However, if all due procedures had been completed and convictions are upheld, the Ministry of Justice would execute death-row inmates in due time, the premier said.
He was responding to questions from Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) Legislator Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆), who asked if the government would execute any death-row inmates in the run-up to Tomb Sweeping Day, a national holiday that falls on April 4 this year.
Tsai was referring to a tradition in which the relatives of those who were murdered can inform the deceased as to whether justice had been done to their killer.
Tomb Sweeping Day is an important festival in Chinese communities during which people gather at family tombs to pay respects to their ancestors.
Minister of Justice Tseng Yung-fu (曾勇夫) said the ministry would carry out such sentences if there are no further reasons for special appeal or retrial. However, he did not give a timetable.
Following the country’s most recent execution, which took place in December last year, the number of death-row inmates stands at 55, the ministry said.