The Kerala Law Academy Law College under the auspices of The Centre for Advanced Legal Studies and Research conducted an International Seminar on Death Penalty: On Trial and Other International Perspectives at the Justice V.R. Krishna Iyer Memorial Hall on 9th January 2016. The failure of the sanction of death penalty as a deterrent form of punishment was the focal theme of discussion. The resource persons were critical about the system in the United States during the interactive lecture.
Dr. David Tushaus (Chairperson, Department of Criminal Justice Missori, Western State University, Legal Studies) and Dr. Danxia Ceuvas.J.D (Professor, Miami Dade College, United States) partnered each other in conducting the seminar. “The death penalty legitimizes an irreversible act of violence by the State and will inevitably claim innocent victim. As long as human justice remains fallible, the risk of executing the innocent can never be eliminated” opined Dr. David while statistically proving that the states which executed a considerable amount of men did not show any records of reduced crime rates.
Dr. Danxia deliberated upon the mitigating factors that a judge is to consider while trial proceedings are being conducted. She drew parallel from the real life case facts and instances she had worked on as an attorney for better understanding of the proposition. Dr. Manoj Kumar Sinha (Director, Indian Law Institute) detailed about the position of this debatable topic based on the Supreme Court of India pronouncements in the national circuit.
The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights calls for an abolition on the sanction of death penalty. The resource persons seemed compassionate towards the convict and advocated for alternative machinery. The position of this mode of punishment would not be settled in our country till the phrases “heinous crime” and “rarest of rare cases” are given a conclusive, explicit, to the point description.
The seminar concluded with an interactive session where the attendees were asked to decide upon a fact situation with the choices of either sentencing the guilty to death or to life imprisonment. The students volunteered in the exercise and the result turned out to be even stevens.