Category Archives: Death Penalty

Death penalty posts

Race, Torture, and Execution: A Human Rights Analysis of the Death Penalty in US Prisons

October 10, 2013 – On the eve of World Day Against the Death Penalty, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez joined several distinguished panelists for a human rights analysis of the death penalty in the United States, as part of the launch of a joint report on the death penalty in Louisiana and California by the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights. For a webcast of the panel discussion and more information about the report, please visit our event page.

Special Rapporteur Endorses UN Expert’s Calls to Stop Executions Following Recent Court Rulings in Belarus

October 9, 2013 – Juan E. Mendez endorsed a statement by Miklos Haraszti, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Belarus, calling on the Government to impose an immediate moratorium on executions before the law on imposing the death penalty can be repealed and the court system is reformed. The statement followed recent decisions by the Supreme Court of Belarus to uphold the death penalty in several cases. Belarus is the only European state that retains the death penalty. The press release is available here.


Healing a Culture of Torture Speech Addresses State Obligations and Survivor Participation

June 2013 – The National Religious Campaign Against Torture, among other organizations, hosted an event on “Healing a Culture of Torture,” featuring UN Special Rapporteur on Torture as the keynote speaker. In his speech, the SRT reaffirmed the importance of a survivor-centered approach to his mandate, stressing that a survivor must participate and be consulted during the design and implementation of all reparations. Therefore, States have to work “with” survivors, not “on” survivors. The SRT expressed concerns regarding States ignoring obligations to provide redress, including rehabilitation services that are basically non-existent in most countries. Thematic issues of the death penalty, solitary confinement, and abuses in healthcare settings were all discussed in the context of torture and cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. Watch the speech here.

Video and photo credit: The National Religious Campaign Against Torture 

Human Rights Brief – The Death Penalty and the Absolute Prohibition against Torture and Cruel, Inhuman and Degrading Treatment and Punishment

January 2013 – Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez discusses the increasingly apparent conflict between the application of the death penalty and the absolute legal prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment under international law.

PassBlue – The Last Throes of the Death Penalty?

November 20, 2012 – Special Rapporteur Juan E. Mendez and Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, Christof Heyns, report on the trends towards the abolition of the death penalty worldwide, noting the radical drop in the number of nations whose laws allow the death penalty and arguing that we may be witnessing the last days of the death penalty.

Opinio Juris – The Death Penalty and Evolving Norms of Customary International Law

October 24, 2012 – Opinio Juris reacts to the Special Rapporteur’s Report on the Death Penalty, focusing on the Report’s finding that there is an evolving standard whereby the death penalty is considered a violation per se of the prohibition against torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.


October 23, 2012 – The UN reports on the Special Rapporteur’s call on states to seriously reconsider whether the death penalty amounts to cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or torture, in the Third Committee of the 67th General Assembly.

Special Rapporteur Says Death Penalty May Amount to Torture or Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment

October 23, 2012 – The Geneva-based International Service for Human Rights discusses the Speical Rapporteur’s thematic report on the death penalty, summarizing the responses made by state parties at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in October 2012.

67th Session of the General Assembly: Joint Side Event: “The Death Penalty and Human Rights: The Way Forward”

October 23, 2012 – The OHCHR Special Procedures Branch, the World Organization Against Torture, Penal Reform International, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and Human Rights Watch held a a joint side event entitled “The Death Penalty and Human Rights: The Way Forward,” at the 67th General Assembly Session in New York.  The event considered the reports presented by the Special Rapporteurs on Torture and Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions.

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan Mendez Presents Report on the Death Penalty to 67th UN General Assembly Meeting

The U.S. Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Mendez delivered his thematic report on the Death Penalty to the General Assembly in New York.