Making a 20-year freeze on capital punishment, Kazakhstan has abolished the death penalty, as per the notice published on January 2. Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev has signed the law ratifying the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights that entails a formal commitment to abolish the death penalty, his press service said. The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights commits all its signatories to ensure that death penalty in their respective jurisdictions is abolished with the exception of wartime.
Kazakh President office’s notice on Saturday came after in 2003, the first president of Kazakhstan, Nursultan Nazarbayev had signed a decree that temporarily halted death penalties. This reportedly also suspended the execution of all death sentences but still allowed the courts from issuing death sentences. It was only in 2004 when life imprisonment was introduced in the Central Asian country as an alternative punishment.
While Kazakh scrapped the death penalty after the nearly two-decade moratorium, US Justice Department has fast-forwarded the process to introduce new options for federal death penalties as they seek to expedite scheduled executions before the outgoing US President Donald Trump’s administration is replaced by that of president-elect Joe Biden’s.
These changes include new options for executions such as electrocution and death by firing squad or poison gas. As per media reports, the approved amendment to the ‘Manner of Federal Executions’ will give the federal prosecutors with a wide range of options to execute the inmates and avoid delays if the state in which the prisoner was sentenced does not provide other alternatives.
The expansion of execution policies is just one of the other three dozen changes that Trump administration is pushing before his term ends on January 20, 2021, that is the Inauguration Day. The rule was given a repent light by US Attorney General William Barr and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. If approved, the amendment can be published in the Federal Register as early as December 4 and reportedly come into effect in 30 days.
(with inputs from ANI)