Life Imprisonment under International Criminal Law: A Human Rights Approach
Unsurprisingly, life imprisonment is a maximum penalty under international criminal law, where the position of death penalty throughout the world tends to be mostly abolished owing to the stance of human rights jurisprudence. Likewise, through the lenses of a human rights approach, if life imprisonment is critically looked, it raises serious concern though the imposition of such sentence is not directly prohibited. This is because the inherent spirit of international human rights norms, this
... ghts norms, this paper argues, that reveals the incompatibility of such sentence with human dignity, right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment as well as right to rehabilitation and hope for release of the offenders, even the most heinous criminals, and also with the principle of proportionality as well as legal certainty. This paper endeavors to revisit the implications of such a human rights approach in the infliction of life imprisonment by rendering a realistic release mechanism for lifers by international criminal tribunals. This paper also tries to argue that retribution and deterrence in sentencing have been unduly emphasized proffering no clear justifications for inflicting such sentence. Therefore, this paper stresses to be adopted a more focused and cautious human rights approach to life imprisonment under international criminal law because if such approach would be emphatically embraced, it would have also served rehabilitative purpose of sentencing jurisprudence and rendered a dynamic and early release mechanism for lifers.