MALTA - Abolitionist
State of civil and political rights: Free
Constitution: 1964; amended many times
Legal System: based on English common law and Roman civil law
Legislative System: Unicameral House of Representatives
Judicial System: Court of First Instance, Constitutional Court and Court of Appeal, whose judges are appointed by the Head of State upon the recommendation of the Prime Minister
Religion: Roman Catholic 98%
International Treaties on the Death Penalty and Human Rights:
- International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
- 1st Optional Protocol to the Covenant
- Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (aiming to the abolition of the death penalty)
- Convention on the Rights of the Child
- Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms
- 6th Protocol to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (concerning the abolition of the death penalty)
- European Convention for the Prevention of Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment
- Protocol No. 13 to the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances
- Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty)
The Maltese Parliament abolished the death penalty for ordinary crimes on October 4, 1971. However capital punishment remained in force for certain crimes committed by members of the Armed Forces, and in times of war.
On March 21, 2000 an amendment to the Armed Forces Act 2000 was promulgated following approval by the House of Representatives and then President Guido de Marco. This law abolished the death penalty for all crimes. The bill was moved by the Minister for Home Affairs, Dr Tonio Borg, and had the support of both the government and the opposition. Under its provisions life imprisonment replaced the death penalty for all offences.
Between 1876 and 1943, a total of 18 executions were carried out.
The last execution in Malta took place on July 5, 1943 at the Corradino Prison. Karmnu Zammit and his brother Guzeppi were hanged after having been found guilty of killing Spiru Grech, from Zabbar, on the road connecting Qormi to Luqa.
Anthony Patignott, on October 1, 1963, became the last person to be condemned to death in Malta. He was found guilty of killing Manwel Baldacchino. The sentence was not executed as the Governor of Malta commuted the death penalty to a life imprisonment.
On May 3, 2002 Malta deposited with the Council of Europe the instrument of ratification of Protocol No 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms banning the death penalty in all circumstances.
On December 19, 2016, Malta once again co-sponsored and voted in favour of the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.