government: Parliamentary democracy
state of civil and political rights: Free
constitution: 22 February 1979
legal system: based on common law
legislative system: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate and the House of Assembly
judicial system: Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court
religion: Catholic majority
death row: 0
year of last executions: 0-0-0
death sentences: 0
international treaties on human rights and the death penalty:
International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (signed only)
Convention on the Rights of the Child
Statute of the International Criminal Court (which excludes the death penalty) (only signed)
Murder and treason are capital crimes.
Saint Lucia is a British Independent Territory for which the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the final court of appeal.
Since the 1993 Pratt and Morgan ruling by the Privy Council, the death penalty cannot be carried out if the prisoner concerned has been under sentence of death for more than five years, in which case the sentence is automatically commuted to life imprisonment.
On March 11, 2002, the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council confirmed the April 2001 decision of the Eastern Caribbean Court of Appeal (ECCA) ruling that the mandatory death penalty was unconstitutional, and unanimously struck down the mandatory death penalty for murder in St Lucia and six other countries. The JCPC made one modification to the ECCA's ruling, saying that sentences should be set by a judge and not a jury. All death row cases in these countries had to be reviewed.
The country can now be considered a de facto abolitionist country since its last execution took place in 1995, when Joseph Solomon, sentenced to death for murder in 1994, was hanged on 17 October.
St Lucia was one of the signatories of an agreement for the establishment of the CCJ in 2001. "The cycle of independence which began in 1962 cannot be considered to be complete until the determination of rights, duties, and interests of Caribbean litigants are pronounced on by a regional court," Prime Minister of St Lucia, Kenny Anthony, said on the occasion.
Human rights groups however have expressed concerns that the CCJ will be used to speed up hangings, with Caribbean governments favouring the death penalty.
St Lucia was one of only six countries that had decided to replace the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) as its final court of appeal by late 2004.
The Caribbean Court of Justice was inaugurated in Trinidad on April 16, 2005.
In Saint Lucia – no new death sentences were imposed and death rows were still empty at the end of 2017.
On 5 November 2015, Saint Lucia was reviewed under the UPR of the UN Human Rights Council. In its response to the recommendations received, the Government did not support recommendations to ratify the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR, establish an official moratorium on executions and abolish the death penalty. However, Saint Lucia stressed the fact that there has been a de facto moratorium in place since 1995.
On December 17, 2018, Saint Lucia voted against the Resolution on a Moratorium on the Use of the Death Penalty at the UN General Assembly.