European and World Day against the Death Penalty: “No legal system is safe from judicial errors”
October 11, 2022

European and World Day against the Death Penalty: “No legal system is safe from judicial errors”

On the occasion of the European and World Day against the Death Penalty on 10 October, the European Union and the Council of Europe have expressed their unequivocal opposition to the death penalty “at all times, in all places and in all circumstances”.

“The death penalty is an inhuman and degrading treatment, contrary to human dignity. It does not serve as a deterrent to crime. No legal system is safe from judicial errors, which may lead to the loss of innocent lives. We will not stop advocating until the death sentence is no longer applied,” says a joint statement by the EU High Representative, on behalf of the European Union, and the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.

The EU reminds that this year marks the twentieth anniversary of Protocol 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances. 

“We commend all those Council of Europe Member States (including all of the EU Member States) that have abolished the death penalty in all circumstances and we call on the last two Member States of the Council of Europe that have not yet acceded to this Protocol – Armenia and Azerbaijan – to do so without delay,” says the statement.

The EU and the Council of Europe strongly condemned the death sentences recently issued in the occupied Ukrainian city of Donetsk. 

“We stress that these sentences were incompatible with both European human rights law and international law, including the Geneva Conventions and welcome with relief the release of the sentenced individuals,” the statement says. “Equally, we deplore the politically-motivated amendment of the Criminal Code of Belarus – extending capital punishment to “attempted terrorist acts”, with the eventual aim of targeting political dissents – and we urge the authorities to reverse this decision.”

The EU and the Council of Europe mention that a minority of 18 states, 9% of the total number of UN Member States, still carried out executions in 2021. 

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