[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----worldwide
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Tue Sep 27 00:35:09 CDT 2005
European officials warn Poland against introducing death penalty
European officials said Monday that Poland would be in clear breach of its
international commitments if the winners of this weekend's parliamentary
elections were to reintroduce the death penalty.
Senior members of the Council of Europe, the continent's top human rights
watchdog, said Poland's membership would be jeopardized. An official at
the European Commission said such a step would violate the EU's charter of
Jaroslaw Kaczynski, the leader of the Law and Justice Party which won
weekend parliamentary elections, and his brother Lech, the Warsaw mayor
vying for the presidency next month, have long spoken out in support of
the death penalty as a way of fighting corruption and crime, according to
Last year, the Law and Justice party - then in opposition - tabled a
motion in parliament for the death penalty to be restored following a
series of murders, but narrowly lost in a vote.
The issue did not emerge as a major theme of this election campaign,
though, and neither has said they would seek to change the law once in
Gross was referring to the European Convention on Human Rights, an
international human rights treaty binding on all Council of Europe
members. The body was founded in 1949 and associates the EU's 25 nations
and all but one of the continent's non-EU countries.
Poland, which joined the EU on May 1, 2004, eliminated the death penalty
in 1997 while moving to adopt the bloc's standards. For many years prior
to that, the death penalty though formally part of the Polish penal code
was not actually used.
Abolition of the death penalty is one of the cornerstones of the
Convention and a key condition of membership of the Council of Europe.
The European Commission in Brussels also said advocating the death penalty
goes against fundamental values shared by all European countries.
Russia, the only European country that has not formally abolished capital
punishment, imposed a moratorium on it in 1996. Deputy Prosecutor General
Vladimir Kolesnikov this year proposed lifting the moratorium for those
convicted of organizing and carrying out terrorist acts, drawing strong
criticism from the Council of Europe.
About 70 countries worldwide still carry out the death penalty, according
to the French group ECPME, or "Together Against the Death Penalty." The
United States and Japan are the only 2 democracies that still carry out
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