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Essay on Capital Punishment in Mauritius

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Periodically in the media we find publications on capital punishment in Mauritius. Discussion of this topic is always a hot debate in society, and lawyers are wondering how it is justified as a form of punishment? There are two opinions: one for its preservation, the other – against. Probably because in some countries, the capital punishment is applied and in the other it was canceled.

Many years among scholars and public figures there were disputes as to whether such punishment as the death penalty has the right to exist.

However, 2007 was a turning point in this matter. Mauritius actually abandoned the use of the death penalty in the Constitution with an exception to the possibility of the death penalty for terrorist offenses, which caused loss of life, as well as for serious crimes committed in wartime.

Actual abolition became the epitome of logical political and legal commitment, aimed at the gradual narrowing of the scope of the death penalty, as evidenced by the Concept of Legal Policy of the Republic of Mauritius from September 20, 2002.

It should be noted that the government has shown some consistency in addressing this issue. So, December 17, 2003 the President signed a decree “On the introduction of the Republic of Mauritius of the moratorium on the death penalty” for an indefinite period, which, of course, does not mean its abolition, as the courts of the Republic, still can assign the highest measure to the defendants, but in the period of the moratorium these sentences will not be executed. In the case of cancellation of the moratorium and maintaining execution the death penalty, the sentence must be executed. At the same time convicts retain the right to seek pardon and commutation of the death penalty with life imprisonment or imprisonment for 25 years.

Naturally, before coming to a definite conclusion about the necessity of actual abolition of the capital punishment in Mauritius international instruments, foreign policy situation in the world, as well as the historical aspects of this issue needed to be analyzed.

So, regarding global practice on the application of the capital punishment all countries of the world can be divided into certain groups depending on the practice of the death penalty.

The countries whose laws do not apply the death penalty for any crime. This group includes about 60 countries, including some European countries: Italy, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Germany, Iceland, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, France, Czech Republic, Sweden, and Australia, a number of Latin American countries. In 1989, this group consisted of 35 states. Over the years, the list of countries that refused this sentence added in the first place a number of European countries – Belgium, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Macedonia, Moldova, Slovakia, and Slovenia.

In addition to European countries the death penalty was abolished in some other countries, in particular, Angola, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and others.

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