Council of Europe Bans Death in All Circumstances

STRASBOURG (Armenpress)–A press release by the Council of Europe stated that the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe have adopted a text banning the death penalty in all circumstances–including for crimes committed in times of war and imminent threat of war.

No derogation or reservation will be allowed to Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights. The adoption is a strong political signal that the death penalty is unacceptable in all circumstances.

The text will be opened for signature to all member states on May 3–2002–in Vilnius–when the Committee of Ministers meets for its 110th session.

The Council of Europe represents a death penalty-free area. No execution has been carried out on its territory since March 1997: 40 member states have abolished capital punishment–3 others (Armenia–the Russian Federation and Turkey) have established a moratorium on executions–and the Committee of Ministers recently invited them to speed up moves toward abolition.

It was the European Ministerial Conference on Human Rights in Rome on November 3-4–2000–followed by an initiative from Sweden–which also underlined the need to abolish the death penalty for acts committed during wartime–or imminent danger of war–and to amend the European Convention on Human Rights–whose Protocol No. 6 still contains an exception concerning this point.

The abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances has been recommended by the Parliamentary Assembly since 1994–and reflects a general international trend. The Council of Europe is the first organization to have drawn up a legal text which allows no exception.

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