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Council of Europe foreign ministers issued Joint call for the abolition of the death penalty


On 10 October 2013, ministers of foreign affairs of the 42 Council of Europe member states issued a joint call on the occasion of the World Day against the Death Penalty.

The signatories, including the Czech Minister of Foreign Affairs, are convinced of the inherent inhumanity of the death penalty which should be abolished under any circumstances anywhere in the world. In their call, they point out that "justice that kills is not justice ".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 signatories urge all of the member states of the Council of Europe who have not yet ratified the Council of Europe treaty concerning the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances to do so. They also strongly urge the last State in Europe still applying the capital punishment to join a global moratorium on the death penalty as a first step towards its abolition.

Council of Europe, an international organization for the protection of human rights, has long been advocating for the abolition of the death penalty. Its position is based on its treaties which have been ratified by the overwhelming majority of member states.

Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights outlaws the use of the death penalty in peacetime. It has so far been ratified by 46 out of the 47 Council of Europe member states. Russia, which currently has a moratorium in place on the use of capital punishment, signed the protocol in 1997 but has yet to ratify it. Belarus is the only European country which continues to use capital punishment.

Protocol No 13. to the convention extends the ban to cover the use of the death penalty in all circumstances, including in wartime. Of the 47 Council of Europe countries, only Azerbaijan and Russia have yet to sign the protocol. Armenia signed it in 2006, but has yet to ratify it. Poland recently passed legislation which will enable ratification in the near future.


Joint call for the abolition of the death penalty... 47 kB pdf (Adobe Acrobat document) Oct 10, 2013