Calls grow for abolition of death penalty

THE Council of Europe and the European Union has called for the absolute ban of the death penalty under all circumstances.

The abolition of the death penalty comes after the joint declaration by the EU and the Council of Europe on the World Day against the Death Penalty yesterday.

Both organizations reaffirmed their strong and unequivocal opposition to capital punishment in all circumstances and for all cases, adding that it was a prerequisite for membership in the Council of Europe to abolish the death penalty under all circumstances as inscribed in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.

In their joint statement, the two organizations have indicated that death penalty was incompatible with human dignity and that it was inhuman and degrading treatment, does not have any proven significant deterrent effect, and allows judicial errors to become irreversible and fatal.

The Council of Europe and the European Union strongly urged the political leadership of all European countries to ensure compliance with the legal and political obligations arising from the membership in the Council of Europe and the European Union.

They have deplored the continuing use of the death penalty in Belarus, the only country on the European continent that still applied the death penalty and they have also strongly urged the authorities of Belarus to commute the remaining death sentences and establish without delay a formal moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty.

The two organizations have further indicated that the introduction of the moratorium would be a decisive step in bringing Belarus closer to the pan-European legal standards.

The Council of Europe and the European Union have welcomed the global trend towards the abolition of capital punishment as records showed that today more than two thirds of all countries have abolished the death penalty in either law or practice.

However, both organization regret that the number of executions have risen in some of those countries that retain the death penalty and that some countries which had a de facto moratorium carried out executions.

In June of this year, the 6th World Congress on the Abolition of the Death Penalty took place in Oslo.

All participating countries and organizations united behind the call for a global moratorium on the death penalty.

The Council of Europe and the European Union hoped to see the momentum created by the world congress reflected in an increased number of countries supporting the resolution on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty which would be put to vote at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly in December 2016.