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Unsafe convictions in capital cases in Taiwan (2019)

  • Reports and Studies
  • 17 Mar 2019

The Death Penalty Project, in association with the Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP), has published a review of wrongful convictions in capital cases in Taiwan.

The report reveals a number of concerns in the administration of criminal justice in Taiwan, demonstrating evidence that the death penalty may be enforced without uncorrected error, resulting in the risk of unsafe or wrongful convictions. Specifically:-

– Ten of the 62 judgments reviewed were found to be seriously flawed: with no significant inculpatory evidence to support the prosecution’s key claims concerning guilt;

– In 32 of the judgments reviewed, the court failed to establish premeditation – indicating that these were not the ‘worst of the worst’ crimes;

– 28 cases (almost half) contained assertions about criminal intent without supporting evidence. Emotive language was used to support such claims in a number of cases.

The evidence in this report is that Taiwan’s system of capital punishment is seriously flawed, and the inescapable conclusion is that there is a very real danger that innocent people could be sentenced to death and executed. Whilst these concerns are not unique to Taiwan and are common to many criminal justice systems across the world, the majority of the world’s nations have recognised that as error is inevitable and human rights violations will occur, the only solution is to abolish the death penalty.

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