AGM focuses on mental health and progress in the Caribbean
The 12th General Assembly of the World Coalition is taking place in San Juan, Puerto Rico at the invitation of the Puerto Rico Bar Association.
The annual event is bringing together representatives from member organisations of the World Coalition and members of the public for a number of open sessions.
Two plenary sessions are focusing on the World Day Against the Death Penalty on 10 October.
The first one is examining the progress being made in the Caribbean, including that acknowledged by the inter-American Court of Human Rights regarding the reduction in the number of mandatory death sentences (without an option for the court to consider mitigating circumstances).
Recently, the attorney general of Barbados, Adriel Brathwaite, announced that the country is preparing to abolish the mandatory nature of the penalty.
The Court hopes that the region will continue to progress in this direction and eventually abolish the mandatory death penalty.
The death penalty in the Caribbean was the focus of World Day Against the Death Penalty 2013.
Mental health and the death penalty
The second plenary is looking at the issues surrounding mental health and the death penalty, which is the theme for this year’s World Day. Two experts in the field of mental health, psychiatrist Dr Terry Kupers and Dr. Stephen Greenspan, an expert on intellectual disability and the death penalty, are the panellists.
The World Coalition and the Puerto Rico Bar Association are also organising a wide range of round tables and workshops that will be open to the public.
On the final day of the assembly, the World Coalition will hold meetings reserved for member organisations. Training sessions will aim to develop specific skills to help members in their own actions.
Thursday 19 June
5pm – Inter American University, School of Law Theatre
A talk on representing people that are facing the death penalty with a focus on the Caribbean. The ‘Representing Individuals Facing the Death Penalty: A Best Practices Manual’ will also be presented.
Speakers: Juan Matos (Capital Defense lawyer and Chairman of the Puerto Rico Bar Association); Parvais Jabbar (Capital Defense lawyer and Executive Director of the Death Penalty Project); Anne Souléliac (Lawyer and Head of the Human Rights section of the Paris Bar).
Friday 20 June
2.30pm – Documentary “Juan Meléndez – 6446”, ‘Cinema Bar’, Ballajá, Old San Juan
This screening will be hosted by the Civil Rights Commisssion with former death row inmate Juan Meléndez in attendance.
WCADP General Assembly
6-8pm – Opening Session:
Welcoming remarks by Florence Bellivier (President of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty)
Speakers: Ana Irma Rivera-Lassén (President of the Puerto Rico Bar); Hon. David Bernier (Puerto Rico Secretary of State); Edgardo Román-Espada (Former General Coordinator of the Puerto Rican Coalition Against the Death Penalty); Kevin Miguel Rivera-Medina (Chair of the Puerto Rico Bar Committee on the Death Penalty).
Saturday 21 June
9-11am – Plenary Session 1: The Death Penalty in the Caribbean
Panel: Parvais Jabbar (Executive Director of the Death Penalty Project); Leela Ramdeen (Chair of the Greater Caribbean for Life network); Dr Ruth Wijdenbosch (Parliamentarians for Global Action Executive Committee Member and Vice-Chair of the National Assembly of Suriname); Hon. Miguel Pereira (Senator and Former Police Chief of Puerto Rico). Hon. Pedro Pierluisi (Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to Washington DC). Moderator and concluding remarks: Carmelo Campos (Vice Chair of the Greater Caribbean for Life network).
11-11:15am – Coffee Break
11:15-12:45pm – Round table: Innocence and the Death Penalty
Panel: Ray Krone (former death row inmate and Director of Membership and Training for Witness to Innocence); Rosalyn Park (Advocates for Human Rights); Juan Meléndez (former death row inmate and member of Witness to Innocence).
Moderator: Elizabeth Zitrin (Vice-President of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty).
11:15-12:45pm – Round table: Role of Parliamentarians towards Abolition
Panel: Raphaël Chenuil-Hazan (Executive Director of ECPM and Vice-President of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty); Hon. Pedro Pierluisi (Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico to Washington DC); Renny Cushing (New Hampshire Parliamentarian and Executive Director of Murder Victims’ Families for Human Rights).
Moderator: Dr Ruth Wijdenbosch (Parliamentarians for Global Action Executive Committee Member and Vice-Chair of the National Assembly of Suriname).
12:45-2pm – Lunch
2:15-3:15pm – Workshop: Teaching Abolition
Panel: Irma Lugo (Amnesty International-Puerto Rico); Marianne Rossi (Program officer of ECPM).
2:15-3:15pm – Workshop: Working with Journalists
Panel: Rafael Lenin López (President of the Puerto Rico Journalist Association); Thomas Hubert (Web-editor of Worldcoalition.org and journalist).
3:15-3:30pm – Coffee Break
3:30-5:30pm – Plenary Session 2: Mental Health and the Death Penalty
Panel: Dr. Terry Kupers (Psychiatrist); Dr. Steve Greenspan (Expert on intellectual disability and the death penalty); Parvais Jabbar (Executive Director of the Death Penalty Project).
Moderator: Maria Donatelli (Director of the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty).
5:30-6:15pm – Bomba Dance lesson
Sunday 22 June (Open to members of the World Coalition only)
9:30-2pm – Statutory Meeting
2–3pm – Lunch
3–4pm – Workshop: Using the World Coalition’s online ‘Library’
Thomas Hubert (Web-editor of Worldcoalition.org and journalist).
3–4pm – Workshop: Monitoring and Evaluation
Dr. Arnaud Gaillard (RAIDH and internal evaluator for the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty).
4-5pm – Workshop: Developing tools for Abolition
Marianne Rossi (Program officer of ECPM)
4-6pm – Steering Committee meeting (Steering Committee members only)