Minister of Justice Luo Ying-shay (羅瑩雪) yesterday said there is a schedule for executions and there would be no rush to carry them out on the nation’s 42 death-row inmates.
“We do not have a timetable for carrying out capital punishment,” Luo said at a meeting with top judiciary officials to discuss the cases.
“The review process is ongoing for these cases,” Luo said at a press briefing after the event. “They will undergo review on a case-by-case basis. We have proceeded in a prudent manner and must ensure there has been no miscarriage of justice before going on to the next step.”
The three vice ministers of justice along with the head of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office attended the meeting.
For cases where there is contention over possible wrongful conviction, Luo said they would be handed over to a “special review committee” formed in the past few months under the jurisdiction of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office.
When asked whether the ministry would carry out executions before May 20, when her term as minister is to end as the new government takes over, Luo said there are no set dates and it would depend on the assessment of each case.
Amnesty International yesterday released a report on the global situation of capital punishment.
The report said in the past year, Taiwan executed six death-row inmates “based on political considerations,” saying the first of the six executions came in the aftermath of the killing of a schoolgirl in Taipei’s Beitou District (北投) in May last year.
Luo denied there was any political motivation in the execution.
“It was not so. People were making connections and putting meaning to something that had no direct relationship,” she said. “The ministry had to make many decisions over the course of a year. We get criticized for doing something and also get criticized for not doing things. Under such conditions, it is difficult for government officials to take action on any issue.”
“Despite voices in the international community advocating for the abolishment of capital punishment, the ministry has to listen to the opinion of the majority in this nation,” Luo said. “This is why we have not rushed to amend the law on capital punishment, since the situation is different in each nation.”
The minister also touted her five-day visit to China last week, where she held talks with top officials of Chinese judiciary agencies.
She said the Chinese agencies agreed to work closer with Taiwan to crack down on crime and promised to take up more active measures to assist in requests for repatriation of Taiwanese fugitives.
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