Dr Chris Ward SC & Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines Joint Study on the Illegality of Reintroducing the Death Penalty in the Philippines

6 St James' International's Dr Chris Ward SC has joined the Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines in publishing their joint study "In Defense of the Right to Life: International Law and Death Penalty in the Philippines[download as a PDF].

On 24 June 2006, the Philippines abolished the death penalty for all crimes within Philippine jurisdiction when Republic Act (R.A.) No. 9346, otherwise known as “An Act Prohibiting the Imposition of the Death Penalty in the Philippines” was enacted. Then on 20 November 2007, the Philippines ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. 

This study advances a legal position that challenges the content of the various Bills now before the Philippines Parliament seeking to re-impose the death penalty. It does so based on the Philippines’ obligations under domestic and international laws. It provides empirical approaches and data which respond to the argument that the Philippines stands to breach international law as a result of Article III, Section 19 of the Philippine Constitution.

The authors also argue that the introduction of capital punishment will considerably impact the standing of the Philippines in the international community, its work within the United Nations (UN), and its economic relations with trade partners.

* The Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines (CHR) is the National Human Rights Institution (NHRI) of the Philippines. Established by the 1987 Philippine Constitution, the CHR has a general jurisdiction for the protection of human rights of all persons within the Philippines, as well as Filipinos residing abroad, and provide for preventive measures and legal aid services to the underprivileged whose human rights have been violated or need protection. An “A” NHRI, the CHR complies with the Paris Principles on the Status of National Human Rights Institutions adopted by the UN General Assembly in 1995. The CHR demonstrates the following characteristics of Paris Principles- compliant NHRI: independence, pluralism, broad mandate, transparency, accessibility and operational efficiency.

** Dr Christopher Ward, SC is a Senior Counsel at the Australian Bar where he has practiced since 1998. He was previously a solicitor at a top tier law firm. Dr Ward is recognised as a leading expert in public international law and human rights law and he has a global practice in the field, working throughout Asia, Europe and the Americas. He is retained by Governments, individuals and large corporations and appears regularly in superior courts and tribunals. Dr Ward is an Adjunct Professor of International Law at the Australian National University. He is the President of the Australian Branch of the International Law Association. He is a Fellow of the Centre for International and Public Law and a Fellow of the Centre for Military and Security Law at the Australian National University. Dr Ward has been counsel in numerous prominent international human rights and international law cases, including the case of Al Jazeera journalist Peter Greste. He has been international legal counsel in several death penalty cases. He has taught human rights law and public international law at universities for over twenty five years.