Clemency in Southeast Asian Death Penalty Cases
Source TitleALC Briefing Paper Series
PublisherAsian Law Centre, University of Melbourne
University of Melbourne Author/sTaylor, Kathryn
AffiliationAsian Law Centre
Document TypeWorking Paper
CitationsPASCOE, D. (2014). Clemency in Southeast Asian Death Penalty Cases. Asian Law Centre, University of Melbourne.
Access StatusOpen Access
Open Access URLPublished version
The five contemporary practitioners of the death penalty in Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam) have performed judicial executions on a regular basis between 1975 and 2013. Notwithstanding this similarity, the number of death sentences passed by courts that were subsequently reduced to a term of imprisonment through grants of clemency by the executive has varied remarkably between these jurisdictions. Some of these countries commuted the sentences of death row prisoners often (for example, the clemency ‘rate’ of 91-92 per cent witnessed in Thailand), others rarely (a clemency ‘rate’ of around 1 per cent in Singapore), and some at ‘medium’ rates. In this article, I employ the methodology of comparative criminal justice to explore the discrepancies and similarities in capital clemency practice between these five Southeast Asian jurisdictions. In doing so, I seek to identify the structural and cultural reasons why retentionist countries exercise clemency at vastly different ‘rates’ in finalised capital cases.
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