As head of the Dragon Age: Inquisition, it’ll sometimes fall to you to sit on a big throne like a fancy-pants king and pass judgement on unfortunate mortals. This mechanic, and its potential consequences, is explained in a bit more detail by the latest news post at the official site.
Periodically, some of the “innocent, the misguided, the foolish, and the righteous” may find themselves winding up before your Skyhold throne and awaiting judgement. They’ll plead their case through questioning, which may give you the opportunity to see a different side to some of the enemies you face. It will also, according to producer Cameron Lee, give you a chance to “reflect on your own decisions and actions throughout the game.”
After you’ve questioned the prisoner and reflected on their charges, it’s time for some hot hot judgement action. Dragon Age: Inquisition will allow you several options here, including recruiting the prisoner into the Inquisition itself, setting them free, executing them (yourself, if you wish) or even making them into a court jester or Tranquil.
Of course, if make rather tyrannical decisions this may come back to reflect poorly on your leadership skills and shape the Inquisition accordingly. Sentences are said to potentially affect “side quests, operations, Skyhold itself, and even your closest companions,” so don’t just go around executing people for fun. Unless you’re doing a dedicated “authoritarian crazy person” Inquisition leader play-through, I guess.