[JURIST] The Barbados government [official website] on Tuesday asked the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) [official website] to overturn a legal precedent that blocks capital punishment in an effort to impose the death penalty on two convicted murderers. Jeffrey Joseph and Lennox Boyd were both sentenced to death by hanging for the 1999 murder of a 22-year old woman, but had their death sentences commuted to life in prison by the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council [official website], the final UK appeals court for English-speaking former Caribbean colonies until the establishment of the CCJ in 2001. Lawyers for the government are seeking to overturn a 1993 Privy Council ruling [text, DOC] calling death row cruel and inhumane if a prisoner waited for execution for more than five years.
The CCJ, based in Trinidad, has only been formally adopted as the high court by Barbados and Guyana, but more countries may join if Barbados wins this appeal. The Caribbean region is experiencing a surge in violent crime rates, and many see the reinstatement of the death penalty as a way to crack down on violent crime. CBC News has more. AP has additional coverage.