Thursday 23 March 2017

International and Regional Treaties

So far, there exist one international and three regional treaties that provide for the abolition of the death penalty.

The Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (total abolition of the death penalty but allows states parties to retain the death penalty for crimes in time of war if they make a reservation to that effect at the time of the ratification or accession to the Protocol).

Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights (abolition of the death penalty in peacetime)

Protocol No. 13 to the European Convention on Human Rights (abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, whether in times of peace or war)

Protocol to the American Convention on Human Rights to Abolish the Death Penalty (total abolition of the death penalty but allows states parties to retain the death penalty for crimes in time of war if they make a reservation to that effect at the time of the ratification or accession to the Protocol)

The question on the illegality of the death penalty has also to be considered within the context of the right not to be subjected to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment (recognized by the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment and by other regional conventions). Several countries have prohibited the death penalty by taking these grounds into consideration.

It is particularly noteworthy that the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunals in former Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Lebanon have eliminated the death penalty as a possible punishment for exceptionally grave offences, encompassing genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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