CHAIRMAN: Mr. Fausto Pocar (Italy)
VICE-CHAIRMEN: Mr. Francisco Jose Aguilar Urbina (Costa Rica), Mr.
Vojin Dimitrijevic (Yugoslavia), Mr. Omran El Shafei (Egypt)
RAPPORTEUR: Mr. Nisuke Ando (Japan)
MEMBERS: Miss Christine Chanet (France), Mr. Janos Fodor (Hungary),
Mr. Kurt Herndl (Austria), Mrs. Rosalyn Higgins (United Kingdom), Mr.
Rajsoomer Lallah (Mauritius), Mr. Andreas V. Mavrommatis (Cyprus),
Mr. Rein A. Myullerson (Soviet Union), Mr. Birame Ndiaye (Senegal),
Mr. Julio Prado Vallejo (Ecuador), Mr. Waleed Sadi (Jordan), Mr.
Alejandro Serrano Caldera (Nicaragua), Mr. S. Amos Wako (Kenya), Mr.
Bertill Wennergren (Sweden)
All the members attended the forty-fourth session except Mr. Wako
and Mr. Lallah. Mrs. Higgins and Mr. Serrano Caldera attended only
part of that session.
||Prince v. Jam., Comm. 269/1987,
U.N. Doc. A/47/40, at 242 (HRC 1992)
||Report of the Human Rights
Committee, U.N. GAOR, 47th Sess., Supp. No. 40, U.N. Doc. A/47/40,
Annex IX, sect. E, at 242 (Oct. 9, 1992)
THE FACTS AS SUBMITTED BY
1. The author of the communication is Delroy Prince, a Jamaican citizen
currently awaiting execution at St. Catherine District Prison, Jamaica. He
claims to be the victim of a violation of his human rights by Jamaica.
2.1 The author states that he and three others were arrested and charged
with the murder of a young girl in 1980, but claims to be innocent of the
charge. He was convicted and sentenced to death on 8 March 1983, while his
co-defendants were acquitted. The Court of Appeal in Jamaica dismissed his
appeal on 25 July 1985.
2.2 In 1986, a warrant for the execution of the author was issued, but a
stay was granted. After the office of the Governor-General had transmitted
new evidence, a retrial was requested. The Court of Appeal did not, however,
grant the Governor-General's request. A petition for special leave to appeal
to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council was then filed on the
author's behalf; on 15 December 1987, the Judicial Committee refused special
leave to appeal. Towards the end of 1987, a second warrant for the author's
execution was issued, and another last-minute stay was granted. Subsequently
a petition for mercy was submitted to the Governor-General, requesting a
commutation of the death sentence.
2.3 The author alleges that during pre-trial detention he was severely
beaten by the arresting police officers, to whom he refused to make a
statement: this allegation was before the Court of first instance, but was
rejected. The author's girlfriend, who he claims would have been able to
provide an alibi and corroborate his evidence, reportedly did not testify on
his behalf because of threats against her life. The author himself allegedly
also received threats prior to his trial: during the trial he did not
disclose the identity of the murderer for fear of his family's and his own
2.4 The author further alleges that other witnesses who would have been able
to testify on his behalf during the trial did not do so because of fear for
their lives: some of these potential witnesses are even said to have left
their homes for this reason. It is not clear whether the witnesses against
the author were cross-examined during the trial, and it appears that no
witnesses were called to testify on his behalf.
3. Although the author does not invoke any article of the International
Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, it appears from his submission that
he claims to be a victim of a violation by Jamaica of articles 7 and 14 of
THE COMMITTEE'S ADMISSIBILITY CONSIDERATIONS AND DECISION
4. The time-limit for the State party's observations on admissibility
expired on 12 September 1988. In spite of a reminder sent on 13 July 1989,
no submission was received from the State party.
5.1 At its thirty-seventh session, the Committee considered the
admissibility of the communication, noting that the Judicial Committee of
the Privy Council had dismissed the author's petition for special leave to
appeal. The Committee also noted that the subsequent petition for mercy to
the Governor-General did not appear to have produced any result. The
Committee further observed that a petition for mercy to the highest
executive Officer Of a State party to the Optional Protocol does not
constitute a remedy that must be exhausted for purposes of article 5,
paragraph 2 (b), of the Optional Protocol. On the basis of the information
before it, the Committee concluded that there were no further remedies that
the author was required to exhaust for purposes of admissibility.
5.2 The Committee noted that the author had failed to provide detailed
information about the circumstances of the trial, although he was explicitly
requested to do so in the Working Group's decision of 15 March 1988. It
considered that the author's allegations, in so far as they related to the
guarantee of a fair On 19 October 1989, the Committee declared the
communication admissible in respect of articles 7 and 14, paragraph 3 (e),
of the Covenant.
REVIEW OF THE ADMISSIBILITY DECISION
6.1 By submission, dated 8 May 1990, the State party challenges the
admissibility decision and argues that the communication is inadmissible on
the ground of failure to exhaust all available domestic remedies. It submits
that, notwithstanding the dismissal of the author's petition to the Judicial
Committee of the Privy Council, the author still has constitutional remedies
he may pursue.
6.2 The State party contends that the rights protected by articles 7 and 14,
paragraph 3 (e), of the Covenant are also protected by sections 14 and 20,
paragraph 5 (d), of the Jamaican Constitution.
6.3 The State party states that under section 25 of the Constitution any
person who alleges that any of the rights protected in the Constitution have
been, are being or are likely to be contravened in relation to him may
without prejudice to any other action with regard to the same subject-matter
which is lawfully available, apply to the Supreme Court for redress. An
appeal lies from the decision of the Supreme Court to the Court of Appeal
and from the decision of that Court to the Judicial Committee of the Privy
7. The Committee has considered the State party's arguments and reiterates
that domestic remedies within the meaning of the Optional Protocol must be
both available and effective. The Committee recalls that in a different case
11 the State party indicated that legal aid is not provided for
constitutional motions. The Committee, therefore, considers that a
constitutional motion does not constitute a remedy that is both available
and effective within the meaning of article 5, paragraph 2 (b), of the
Optional Protocol. There is therefore no reason to revise the Committee's
earlier decision on admissibility of 19 October 1989.
EXAMINATION OF THE MERITS
8.1 As to the substance of the author's allegations, the Committee notes
with concern that the State party has confined itself to the observation
that the information provided by the author does not support his
allegations: it has not addressed the author's specific claims under
articles 7 and 14, paragraph 3 (e), of the Covenant. Article 4, paragraph 2,
of the Optional Protocol enjoins the State party to investigate in good
faith all the allegations made against it, and to make available to the
Committee all the information at its disposal. The Committee is of the
opinion that the summary dismissal of the author's allegations in general
terms does not meet the requirements of article 4, paragraph 2, of the
8.2 As to the author's claims relating to article 14, paragraph 3 (e), the
Committee notes that the trial transcripts disclose that the prosecution
witnesses were in fact cross-examined by the defence. The Committee is not
in a position to ascertain whether the failure of the defence to call
witnesses on the author's behalf was a matter of counsel's professional
judgement or the result of intimidation. The material before the Committee
does not disclose whether either counsel or author complained to the trial
judge that potential defence witnesses were subjected to intimidation.
Similarly, the Committee is unable to conclude, from the information before
it, that the defence was actually denied the opportunity to call witnesses.
The Committee therefore finds no violation of article 14, paragraph 3 (e),
of the Covenant.
8.3 With respect to the alleged violation of article 7 of the Covenant, the
Committee notes that the author's claim has not been contested by the State
party. Notwithstanding, it is the Committee's duty to ascertain whether the
author has substantiated his allegation. After careful examination of the
information before it, and taking into account that the author's allegation
was before the jury during the trial, the Committee concludes that the
author has failed to substantiate his claim that he is a victim of a
violation by the State party of article 7 of the Covenant.
9. The Human Rights Committee, acting under article 5, paragraph 4, of the
Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political
Rights, is of the view that the facts before the Committee do not disclose a
violation of any of the provisions of the International Covenant on Civil
and Political Rights.