Tuesday, October 15, 2013

World Day Against the Death Penalty

10th October marked the 11th World Day against the death penalty. We mark the day by reactions
 World Day 1
"Justice that kills is not justice", 42 countries that have signed a joint call for the abolition of the death penalty believe.
According to the signatories, death penalty meant inherent inhumanity.  "The death penalty is not only an intolerable affront to human dignity, its use goes hand in hand with numerous violations of the human rights of the condemned and their families. Moreover, capital punishment has no positive impact on crime prevention or security and does not in any way repair the harm done to the victims and their families."
"The aim of our appeal is not to deliver a lecture, but to share our experience as well as our conviction. If the history of the abolition of the death penalty in our various countries has taught us anything, it is that the path is long and hard. Capital punishment was not repealed overnight. Its abolition became a reality only as a result of increasing awareness and constant collective effort. It was through perseverance and in gradual stages that the number of executions fell, the list of crimes punishable by death was narrowed, justice became more transparent, de facto moratoriums on executions were established and that - finally - the death penalty disappeared. It is this process that countries that still carry out executions in the name of justice must go through."
This joint call to abolish the death penalty is signed by the following ministers of foreign affairs:
Ditmir Bushati (Albania), Gilbert Saboya Sunyé (Andorra), Michael Spindelegger (Austria), Didier Reynders (Belgium), Zlatko Lagumd?ija (Bosnia and Herzegovina), Kristian Wigenin (Bulgaria), Vesna Pusić (Croatia), Ioannis Kasoulides (Cyprus), Jan Kohout (Czech Republic), Villy Søvndal (Denmark), Urmas Paet (Estonia), Erkki Tuomioja (Finland), Laurent Fabius (France), Nikola Poposki (FYR Macedonia), Guido Westerwelle (Germany), Evangelos Venizelos (Greece), János Martonyi (Hungary), Gunnar Bragi Sveinsson (Iceland), Eamon Gilmore (Ireland), Emma Bonino (Italy), Edgars Rinkēvičs (Latvia), Aurelia Frick (Liechtenstein), Linas Antanas Linkevičius (Lithuania), Jean Asselborn (Luxembourg), George Vella (Malta), Natalia Gherman (Moldova), José Badia (Monaco), Igor Lukšić (Montenegro), Frans Timmermans (Netherlands), Espen Barth Eide (Norway), Rui Machete (Portugal), Titus Corlățean (Romania), Pasquale Valentini (San Marino), Ivan Mrkić (Serbia), Miroslav Lajčák (Slovakia), Karl Erjavec (Slovenia), José Manuel García-Margallo (Spain), Carl Bildt (Sweden), Didier Burkhalter (Switzerland), Ahmet Davutoğlu (Turkey), Leonid Koschara (Ukraine) and William Hague (United Kingdom).

World Day 2
From a meeting held in the Faculty of Law of the University of Kabul:
The questions and remarks raised by the audience (mainly students from the faculty of law of Kabul and NGO activists invited) showed a deep and sincere inclination in favor of death penalty.
As Afghanistan is at war (and has been during the last 35 years), it is understandable ; Robert Badinter mentioned in his "famous" speech in 1981 : war time and abolition are not compatible.
The debate was calm and interesting but for the Afghan students, it's clear that the death penalty is needed
- to deter criminals
- to punish criminals
- in a country where the police is weak
- in a country where the justice system is weak
- in a country where terrorism is widespread
- in a country where sharia law is a source of law (and sharia law allows in some specific cases and under specific circumstances the death penalty)
- in a country that has no money to keep detainees in prison for their whole life
- in a country where the prisons are not well guarded and criminals can easily escape.

World  Day 3
          Statement by the African Commission on World Day against the Death Penalty
On 10 October 2013, the African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights (the African Commission), joins the rest of the world in celebrating the 11th World Day against the Death Penalty. The theme for this year’s celebration is: ‘’Stop Crime, Not Lives’’.

Scientific research on the impact of the death penalty has shown that its dissuasive aspects are not more effective than those of other forms of punishment, such as life in prison. By executing murderers, child rapists and other perpetrators of barbaric acts in order to calm the grief of families of victims, we are moving closer to the notion of vengeance which brings to mind the ancient era of private justice when victims and their families took the law into their own hands. The death penalty, by its absolute and irreparable nature, is incompatible with any policy to reform offenders, is against any system based on respect for human beings, impedes the unity and reconciliation of people emerging from conflict or serious crimes, and jeopardises criminal justice by making it absolute whereas it has to remain attentive to possible errors.  
In Africa, 17 countries have abolished the death penalty in their laws and justice systems, while 20 other States have observed a de facto moratorium for more than ten years. African states that have legally abolished the death penalty are Angola, Benin, Burundi, Cape Verde, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Gabon, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, SaoTome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, South Africa, and Togo.
The African Commission is concerned by the wave of executions that have recently been carried out in some African countries, in particular in the Edo State of Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Botswana and The Gambia where nine people who had spent years on death row were secretly executed.  
The African Commission is further concerned at the increasing number of death sentences handed down by courts which increases the number of people on death row.
 Justice Minister of Zimbabwe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, has thrown his weight behind the anti-death penalty campaign and pledged to push for the abolition of capital punishment.
Mnangagwa, who is a death penalty survivor, was addressing activists after a march organized by Amnesty International Zimbabwe to mark the World’s Death Penalty Day in Harare.

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