Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Drugs and the Death Penalty
Seminar in Bangkok on 29th July 2010
In countries where enforcement of the death penalty is still considered compatible with the observance of human rights covenants, the accepted reading of international law is that it must be limited to the punishment of “most serious crimes”. It is further interpreted that “most serious crimes”, should intend only intentional homicide.
The enforcement of the death penalty for drug crimes is an area of serious dispute. There is no doubt that drugs are a major source of crime in the present day world, but that the problem can be solved by inflicting the death penalty on the agents of the drug trade is an altogether different proposition.UCL is against the death penalty in any form and for any crime, but there are special arguments against its imposition on drug charges. Such arguments are the subject matter of this seminar.
Council of Europe and Keynote Speaker
The Council of Europe is the largest grouping of countries in the world, in an area stretching from the Atlantic to the Pacific and including countries of the most varied cultures, histories, and religious beliefs. It has accumulated a vast experience in statehood and the promotion of civilized living. The Council of Europe, based in Strasbourg (France), now covers virtually the entire European continent, with 47 member countries. Founded on 5 May 1949 by 10 countries, the Council seeks to develop throughout Europe common and democratic principles based on the European Convention on Human Rights and other reference texts on the protection of individuals.
From its foundation in 1949 the Council has emphasized that abolition of the death penalty is an essential element of Human Rights, Democracy, and the Rule of Law. Since 1985 abolition is a condition of membership of the Council.
The keynote speaker of the seminar on drugs and the death penalty is Mrs. Renate Wohlwend, member of parliament of Lichtenstein and delegate to the Council of Europe, former Vice-President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and Rapporteur on the death penalty for the Assembly. Dr. Wohlwend, has been speaking and writing on abolition of the death penalty for over a decade. She can draw on the experience of member states of the Council to illustrate the essential contribution of abolition to civilized living, and to respond to problems which still beleaguer states hesitating to abandon capital punishment.
"In Europe no governing party has lost an election due to abolition. The prior introduction of a moratorium on executions has helped to reassure the general public that stopping executions does not mean rising crime," Renate Wohlwend
“Capital punishment, like torture is simply wrong”
“The death penalty only brutalizes society by further legitimizing cold-blooded killing as justice. It is a fallacy that it prevents violent crime”. Death is not justice, Council of Europe publication.