袴田事件が問うもの―死刑のない社会を考える

May 06, 2014
EDITORIAL: Hakamada case reinforces arguments against death penalty
袴田事件が問うもの―死刑のない社会を考える

The Japanese government can legally end a person’s life as punishment for a crime.
 人の命を、刑罰として国家が奪う。

The Shizuoka District Court’s recent decision to order a retrial for a long-time death-row inmate reminded us afresh of the grave problems inherent in this capital punishment system.
 それがいかに重いことか、世に問いかけたのが、死刑囚袴田巌さんに対する静岡地裁の再審開始決定だ。

Iwao Hakamada was sentenced to death over a 1966 quadruple murder. If his sentence had been carried out, the state would have committed a dreadful and irreparable mistake.
 もし刑が執行されていたら、取り返しがつかなかった。

When he was released in late March after spending 48 years behind bars, Hakamada showed signs of mental illness. His condition highlighted the cruelties of living under the constant fear of being executed.
 48年ぶりに拘束をとかれた袴田さんは、精神を病んでいた。いつとも知れぬ執行と日々向き合う過酷さも垣間見えた。

INEVITABLE HUMAN ERRORS
■誤判は避けられない

Five years have passed since the “saibanin” lay judge system was introduced in Japan. Under the system, randomly selected ordinary citizens are tasked to decide whether the accused should be given a death sentence.
 裁判員制度の導入で、死刑にすべきかどうかの判断を市民が担って5年になる。

More than 80 percent of citizens support the death penalty, according to a government survey.
 政府の世論調査では、死刑の存続を8割以上が支持する。

But it can hardly be said that sufficient national debate has been held on the various issues concerning capital punishment.
 しかし、この究極の刑のあり方について、国民的な議論を十分重ねてきたとは言い難い。

Tough penalties should certainly be meted out for the unpardonable crime of murder. But is the death penalty the only possible option for such cases?
 人の命を奪う許しがたい犯罪には厳正な刑罰で臨まねばならない。だが、その選択肢はいまの死刑しかないのだろうか。

This is a question that all people living in a society that has adopted capital punishment should ask themselves.
 死刑がある社会を生きる一人ひとりが問い直すべき問題であろう。

Hakamada is certainly not the only victim of false accusations.
 振りかえれば、袴田さんだけの問題ではなかった。

During the 1980s, four death-row inmates, including Sakae Menda, were acquitted in retrials. Since 2010, four prisoners serving life sentences have been acquitted in retrials, including Toshikazu Sugaya, who was wrongfully convicted of murdering a 4-year-old girl in Ashikaga, Tochigi Prefecture, in 1990.
 80年代、免田栄さんら4人の死刑囚が再審で無罪を言い渡された。無期刑でも2010年以降だけで足利事件などの4人が再審無罪となっている。

These cases cannot be simply regarded as the regrettable results of sloppy criminal investigations in the old days. Just two years ago, four people were wrongfully arrested over online threats posted through their computers, which had been remotely manipulated. The four were later found innocent, but two of them had “confessed” to the crime.
 昔の捜査はいい加減だった、と片づけられることでもない。つい2年前のパソコン遠隔操作事件では、のちに無実だと分かった4人のうち2人が「自白」していた。

Some people may think that innocent people would never confess to a crime. But those suspects were held for days after their arrest. They eventually succumbed to pressure from investigators who used leading questions and coercive tactics in the interrogations.
 やってもいない罪を認めるなんてありえない、と思う人もいるだろう。だが逮捕され、連日取り調べられるなか、取調官の誘導や強要に屈して虚偽の自白をすることが現実に起きた。

Humans prosecute and judge others under the criminal justice system, so it must be assumed that false accusations and wrongful convictions can occur.
 人間が犯した罪を、訴追し、裁くのもまた人間だ。誤判はありうるという前提に立って、考えざるをえない。

BEYOND EYE-FOR-EYE JUSTICE
■「報い」を超えて

Since the second half of the 20th century, many nations, mainly in Europe, have abolished capital punishment.
 20世紀後半以降、先進国では欧州を中心に死刑の廃絶が進んだ。

Among industrialized nations today, only Japan and some U.S. states still execute criminals. South Korea and Russia stopped conducting executions in the 1990s, effectively abolishing the death penalty.
執行を続けるのは、米国の一部の州と日本だけだ。韓国、ロシアは90年代に執行を止め、事実上の廃止国になった。

Punishments against crimes are based on each country’s social culture, and simply following the global trend may not be the best answer.
 刑罰はそれぞれの社会文化に根ざしている。世界の潮流に従えばいいというものではない。

Heinous crimes and people demanding severe punishments exist in any country. But many countries have chosen something other than capital punishment as the maximum penalty. Japan would probably be better off learning from their views and opinions.
だが、どの国にも憎むべき犯罪があり、厳しい世論がある状況を抱えつつ、死刑ではない最高刑を選んできた。その知見から学ぶことはあるはずだ。

Under another widely adopted approach, executions are suspended temporarily to allow a public consensus to emerge on the issue through in-depth debate.
 死刑の執行を一時停止し、議論の深まりを待つ方法も広くとられてきた。

In the Japanese government’s poll on the issue, more than half of the respondents who supported the death penalty cited concerns that abolishing capital punishment would lead to an increase in vicious crimes. But there is no clear proof that the death penalty is an effective deterrent to crime.
 政府の世論調査では、死刑存続を支持する人の半数以上が、廃止すると凶悪犯罪が増えることを理由に挙げた。しかし、死刑に特別な抑止力があるかどうかは、立証されていない。

Many respondents also supported the notion that people who have committed heinous crimes should pay with their lives.
 凶悪犯罪には命をもって償うべきだという理由を挙げる人も多かった。

Although atrocious crimes spark broad and strong public demands for heavy punishments, death sentences are not handed down in all of these cases. The difficulty in dealing with the issue lies in the fact that a criminal penalty should not be regarded as merely the price for a crime.
 だが今でも、社会の処罰感情が強い犯罪のすべてに死刑が適用されているわけではない。刑を「報い」としてだけでとらえるべきでない難しさがある。

The suffering is immeasurable among people who have lost family members and loved ones due to criminal activities. Their demands for severe penalties against the culprits are understandable.
 犯罪で家族や愛する人を奪われた遺族らの厳罰を求める気持ちは当然のものだ。その痛みは計り知れない。

But some bereaved families want the offenders to live out their lives making amends for the crimes they have committed.
 一方で、あえて加害者に生きて償うことを要望する遺族もいる。

It is impossible to punish criminals in a way that can satisfy all the diverse feelings of the victims and their families. What is important is to ensure that society provides support for crime victims and bereaved families.
被害者のさまざまな思いを加害者の刑に反映させるには、限界がある。必要なのは、被害者と遺族を社会がいかに手厚く支えていくかではないか。

In some abhorrent cases, families can no longer live in their homes where crimes have taken the lives of family members, and the perpetrators refuse to offer apologies let alone compensation for the suffering they caused.
 突然、犯罪で家族を失い、現場になった自宅にも住めない。加害者からは被害弁済どころか反省の言葉さえない。そんな不条理なことが現にある。

Systems have been established in recent years to allow crime victims to take part in the trials of the suspects and to receive information on how the sentences have been carried out.
 近年になって被害者が裁判に参加する制度や、加害者の刑の執行状況を知らせる制度などが整ってはきた。

But much more needs to be done to ensure that crime victims can receive sufficient financial support and psychological care.
それでも金銭的な支援、心理的なケアなど取り組むべきことは多い。

The government should consider long-term support to help crime victims deal with various difficulties.
 犯罪に起因するさまざまな困難と向き合う、息の長い支援を考えていかねばならない。

LIMITED INFORMATION DISCLOSURE
■限られた情報公開

Japan had 132 inmates on death row at the end of April.
 4月末現在、確定死刑囚は132人いる。

Until seven years ago, the Justice Ministry didn’t publish the names of executed inmates or the locations where the executions were conducted. The ministry showed execution sites to Diet members and journalists, but such efforts for information disclosure proved temporary.
 法務省は7年前まで、死刑執行の対象者の名前や場所などを公にしてこなかった。国会議員や報道機関に刑場を公開したこともあるが、一時的なもので終わった。

The government has been keeping strict control on information concerning executions. Such a show of public authority has serious implications. There is no denying that the government’s reluctance to disclose information about executions has hampered healthy public debate on capital punishment.
 死刑執行がきわめて重い公権力の行使でありながら、政府は情報公開を極度に制限してきた。これが死刑をめぐる議論を妨げてきたことは否めない。

Another issue is whether hanging is an appropriate execution method. Nearly six decades have passed since the Supreme Court ruled that death by hanging did not violate the constitutional ban on cruel penalties. Even some experts who support capital punishment are calling for a review of this method.
 絞首刑という方法がふさわしいかも論点だろう。残虐な刑罰を禁じる憲法に反しないとする最高裁判決から約60年がたつ。死刑存続派の識者からも見直しを求める意見が出ている。

A multipartisan group of lawmakers against the death penalty once considered proposing life imprisonment without parole as an alternative to capital punishment.
 超党派の国会議員でつくる死刑廃止議連は、仮釈放のない無期刑(重無期刑)の新設を検討していた。

It has long been pointed out that the gap is too large between capital punishment and a life sentence, which is actually an “indefinite” prison term with the possibility of parole that may lead to the offender’s return to society.
いずれ社会に戻れるかもしれない無期刑と死刑の落差はかねて指摘されてきた。

The government has been avoiding asking citizens what they think of life imprisonment without parole as an alternative to the death penalty. But this is a question that the government itself should face head-on.
 死刑の代替刑として、重無期刑をどのように考えるか。政府は市民に意見を問うことを避けてきたが、正面から向き合うべき問題ではないか。

--The Asahi Shimbun, May 6
[PR]

by kiyoshimat | 2014-05-08 08:27 | 英字新聞

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