Civil and political rights, including the question of disappearances and summary executions: Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions: Report of the Special Rapporteur, Mr. Philip Alston. Addendum: Mission to Nigeria

A few important points are raised in this article. Paragraph 35 states:characterizing adultery and sodomy as capital offences leading to death by stoning is contrary to applicable Nigerian and international law.  Neither can be considered to be one of the most serious crimes for which the death penalty may be prescribed. In the same paragraph, the Special Rapporteur states that: “even if the sentence [stoning] is never carried out, the mere possibility that it can threaten the accused for years until overturned or commuted constitutes a form of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” This is important because it states that even if stoning is never carried out, the fact that it exists in the law is a violation of one’s fundamental freedom from torture.

In paragraph 37, the Special Rapporteur is even more unequivocal in his stance that adultery and other crimes against the sexual norms of consenting adults do not warrant the death penalty: ““Moral sanction is a matter for the consciences of individuals and the beliefs of religious groups.  Criminal sanctions are an entirely different matter and when the threat of execution is involved the State cannot stand idly by and permit the two types of sanctions to be conflated in a way that violates international law.”

Alston, Philip
Source publication: 
Economic and Social Council: Commission on Human Rights. Sixty-second session. Item 11 (b) of the provisional agenda. Distr. General: E/CN.4/2006/53/Add.4. 7 January 2006