09.10.2013 â€“ The Secretary General of the Council of Europe, ThorbjÃ¸rn Jagland,
and the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security
Policy, Catherine Ashton, have issued a joint declaration to mark the 7th
European Day against the Death Penalty (10 October).
In the declaration, Secretary General Jagland and
High Representative Ashton reiterate their strong opposition to the use of
capital punishment, underling its inhumane and cruel nature and its failure to
Encouraged by the growing
momentum towards worldwide abolition, they nevertheless state that the
resumption of executions in different parts of the world and voices in favour of
the death penalty â€“ including in Europe â€“ show the continuing need to spell out
why it runs contrary to the right to life and human dignity.
Welcoming important recent
steps towards abolition at the international level, they call on all European
countries to legally abolish the death penalty in all circumstances and regret
the continuous use of capital punishment in Belarus â€“ the only European country
still to do so.
1. The Council of Europe's
Committee of Ministers declared 10 October as the annual "European Day against
the Death Penalty" in September 2007 as a European contribution to the World Day
against the Death Penalty on the same date. The European Day against the Death
Penalty has been co-sponsored by the European Union since 2008.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. The right to life is
enshrined in Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights. A factsheet
on relevant case law from the European Court of Human Rights is available
5. The full text of the
joint declaration by ThorbjÃ¸rn Jagland and Catherine Ashton to mark this year's
European and World Day against the Death Penalty is available
For more information see: www.coe.int / www.coe.ge