Delegate Name: Lidija Habekovic
The death penalty is a punishment that has been used since the 18th century BCE. It is typically only used in the most serious cases of murder or genocide. Abolitionists argue that the death penalty is a violation of human rights, in that it ignores every person’s right to life, and perpetuates a cycle of violence and vengeance. Supporters of the death penalty argue that the use of the death penalty deters crime, offers closure to victims’ families, and preserves order. Many countries across the world are working towards or already have abolished the death penalty. Some notable exceptions include the United States of America and Japan.
Cuba’s penal code states that the death penalty can be issued as a punishment for committing any of the 23 crimes specified. However, alternative punishments are available if one does commit any of the previously mentioned crimes. Cuba has maintained a de facto moratorium on the death penalty since the last executions in 2003, and its penal code specifies that the death penalty will only be used in the most serious cases. Cuba is amenable to abolishing the death penalty once conditions for doing so are in place; however, that has not happened yet. Additionally, Cuba’s penal code stipulates that the death penalty will not be issued on anyone under the age of 20.
While Cuba does support the death penalty, it is amenable to abolishing it if the conditions for doing so are in place. Cuba states that conditions would move towards being favorable to abolishing the death penalty whenever the United States ceases its policy of hostility towards Cuba. Cuba wishes for the policy to be ended so that Cuba can develop its economic, social, and political sectors, with assurances of respect for its sovereignty. Cuba has signed the Convention against Torture and has maintained a de facto moratorium against the death penalty. However, it has voted against the UN Moratorium Resolution four separate times, and likely will not abolish the death penalty anytime soon. Cuba believes that through the threat of the death penalty, crimes such as genocide can be prevented. Cuba is adamant about protecting state security, and many offenses against the state, such as terrorism and espionage, are punishable by death.
Cuba recognizes that many innocent people have the potential to be executed through investigational errors, lack of evidence and whatever else. Cuba proposes to offer legal counsel to convicted individuals, conduct more thorough investigations of convicted individuals, to reduce the probability that an innocent person is imprisoned or executed, and to implement specific laws regarding victims’ rights. While Cuba does not support the abolition of the death penalty, it is amenable to changing its policies. Cuba looks forward to working with other nations to address this ambiguous and pressing issue.