The first use of cluster munitions reportedly occurred when a World War I fighter pilot, somewhere in Europe, tossed a box full of grenades out of a biplane. A new idea was born - a payload that contained not one but multiple explosive devices. And now, nearly a century later, the world is still trying to get rid of them. Over 1,000 international delegates, journalists and survivors are attending the first meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions in Laos this week. At the meeting, representatives from 108 signatory states will hammer out a decade-long plan to rid their nations of cluster bombs, rockets and missiles. Affected states like the convention's host country, Laos - will detail plans to clear their land of unexploded ordnance (UXO). Wealthy donor states will discuss the destruction of their stockpiles and plans to outlaw production. Canada has signed the treaty, along with the UK, Australia and most of Africa. China and Russia have not and neither has … [Read more...] about The worst weapon
Innocent on death row statistics
In a last-minute decision, a court in the Mekong Delta province of Long An on Thursday halted the lethal injection of a 29-year-old man for a grisly murder of two local women after his dogged mother has relentlessly appealed to high places. Ho Duy Hai is set for lethal injection Friday. In an appeal sent to the Long An’s People’s Court on Thursday morning, his family called for the delay in the execution, saying more time was needed to prove his innocence. Le Quang Hung, the provincial deputy chief justice, told Thanh Nien News the court agreed to shelve the lethal injection after getting the approval from the Supreme People’s Court. Central authorities said late Thursday that President Truong Tan Sang ordered the delay. Hai’s mother, Nguyen Thi Loan, said she has sent stacks of documents to appeal to a raft of agencies concerned in Hanoi over the past six years. In April 2009, a court of appeals in Ho Chi Minh City upheld the death sentence against Hai, who … [Read more...] about Vietnam court halts execution of murder convict amid allegation of miscarriage of justice
Earlier, on January 5, following blanket media coverage about appeals by death row inmates, the apex prosecutors’ office had launched a review of 16 convictions that showed signs of miscarriage of justice. On December 4, a day before a murder convict was to be executed by lethal injection, President Truong Tan Sang had ordered a last-minute reprieve and instructed related agencies to investigate if there had been a wrongful conviction. In a country where death sentences are often handed down to those convicted of drug offences and murder, analysts increasingly raise two major questions: Has the death penalty played any role in deterring those crimes? And, in the context of increasingly disturbing media reports about wrongful convictions, how can Vietnam ensure innocent people are not executed? There is a third, possibly more important, question: Is the country really equipped to carry out executions? Minority “Vietnam belongs to an increasingly small minority of countries … [Read more...] about Is Vietnam ready to abolish death penalty?