The 1973 Constitution of GrenadaConstitutional referenda on seven proposed amendments were all rejected in Grenada in 2016.guarantees the rights to life, liberty, security of the person, and the protection of the law, but "subject to respect for the rights and freedoms of others and for the public interest". Under Section 2(2) of the Constitution, the right to life is not violated if a person
dies as the result of the use, to such extent and in such circumstances as are permitted by law, of force such as is reasonably justifiable --
a. for the defence of any person from violence or for the defence of property ;
b. in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained ;
c. for the purpose of suppressing a riot, insurrection or mutiny ; or
d. in order to prevent the commission by that person of a criminal offence, or if be dies as the result of a lawful act of war.
Use of firearms purely to protect property is not permissible under international law.
Section 5(1) of the Constitution provides that: "No person shall be subjected to torture or to inhuman or degrading punishment or other treatment."
Section 11(1) guarantees the "right to assemble freely" but allows restrictions to be imposed that are reasonably justifiable in a democratic society and which are "reasonably required in the interests of defence, public safety, public order, public morality or public health" or "reasonably required for the purpose of protecting the rights or freedoms of other persons".
The Constitution refers to the Royal Grenada Police Force but does not explicitly govern its use of force.
|1966 Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)||State Party|
|ICCPR Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1984 Convention against Torture (CAT)||State Party|
|Competence of CAT Committee to receive individual complaints||No|
|CAT Optional Protocol 1||Not party|
|1998 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court||State Party|
|1948 Charter of the Organization of American States||State Party|
|1969 Inter-American Convention on Human Rights||State Party|
|Competence of Inter-American Court on Human Rights||No|
Police Use of Force
Section 23 of the 1966 Police Act (as amended) stipulates that
It shall be the duty of the Force to take lawful measures for—
(a) preserving the public peace ...
(c) apprehending and causing to be apprehended persons who shall have committed, or shall be charged with or suspected of having committed or having abetted the commission of, or being about to commit, any crime or offence
(d) control of processions and assemblies in public places ...
(f) preserving order and decorum in public places and places of public resort, at public meetings and in assemblies for public amusements...
(n) protecting public property from loss or injury....
The Act does not regulate the use of force by police officers. Such regulation is contained in the 1958 Criminal Code (as amended), Section 55 of which allows "the amount and kind of force reasonably necessary for the purpose for which force is permitted to be used". Police officers are further allowed to use "necessary force according to the terms and conditions of [their] authority".
Section 357 allows a police officer to "do all things necessary for dispersing the persons" in a riotous assembly "and. if any person makes resistance, may use all such force as is reasonably necessary for overcoming such resistance, and shall not be liable in any criminal or civil proceeding for having by the use of such force caused harm or death to any person".
Use of Force in Custodial Settings
According to Section 14 of the 1980 Prisons Act:
(1) A prison officer may use a weapon against any prisoner escaping or attempting to escape:
Provided that resort shall not be had to the use of any weapon unless such officer has reasonable grounds for believing that he or she cannot otherwise prevent the escape.
(2) A prison officer may use a weapon against any prisoner engaged in any combined outbreak, or in any attempt to force or break open the outside door, or gate, or enclosure wall, of the prison, and may continue to use such weapon so long as such combined outbreak or attempt is being actually prosecuted.
(3) A prison officer may use a weapon against any prisoner using violence against any person if such officer has reasonable grounds for believing that such person is in danger of life or limb or that other grievous harm is likely to be caused to him or her.
(4) Before using any firearm against a prisoner under the authority of subsection (1) the prison officer shall, if possible, give warning to the prisoner that he or she is about to open fire on him or her.
(5) No member of the subordinate staff shall in the presence of his or her superior officer use any firearm against a prisoner in the case of an attempt to escape or of a combined outbreak, except under the orders of the superior officer.
(6) The use of firearms under this section shall, as far as possible, be to disable and not to kill.
(7) A police officer for the time being on duty as an escort, or as a guard in or around any prison or lock-up for the purpose of ensuring the safe custody of a prisoner or person detained in a prison or lock-up, shall be deemed to have the same powers and obligations as a prison officer under this section for the purpose of carrying out that duty.
This is more permissive than international law allows.
There is no independent civilian police oversight body in Grenada. The police commissioner can discipline officers up to the rank of sergeant in cases of brutality, with penalties that include dismissal. Only the Public Service Commission can discipline officers with the rank of inspector or higher. The Criminal Investigation Department, in coordination with the Department of Public Prosecutions, is charged with investigating killings by police officers.
Views and Concluding Observations of United Nations Treaty Bodies
Grenada has not come before the Human Rights Committee in recent years and its last Universal Periodic Review under the UN Human Rights Council, in 2015, did not address police use of force.
Grenada has not accepted the jurisdiction of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.