Death Penalty

The Special Rapporteur’s Thematic Report on the Death Penalty

 

 

Read the Special Rapporteur’s Report on the Death Penalty and the Prohibition of Torture here!  You can also watch webcasts of the SRT delivering his report before the UN General Assembly and delivering a press conference following the presentation of the report. The official UN Press Release is available here.

Special Rapporteur Juan E. Mendez presented his thematic report on the death penalty and the prohibition of torture to the Third Committee of the 67th UN General Assembly on October 23, 2012. In the report, the SRT called on States to consider whether the death penalty fails to respect the inherent dignity of the human person, and amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or torture. The SRT noted that, although the death penalty may not constitute per se a violation of the prohibition of torture and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment, State practices of abolishing or restricting capital punishment indicate a growing tendency to consider it contrary to this prohibition. The SRT recommended that a comprehensive legal study be conducted on the possible emergence of a customary norm prohibiting the use of the death penalty under all circumstances.

Special Rapporteur AWARDED DEATH PENALTY FOCUS HUMAN RIGHTS AWARD FOR CONTINUING EFFORTS TO ELIMINATE THE DEATH PENALTY

In the spring of 2014, the Special Rapporteur received the prestigious Human Rights Award from the California-based NGO Death Penalty Focus, during the organization’s 23rd Annual Awards Dinner in Los Angeles. The Award recognizes the Special Rapporteur’s work in promoting the abolition of the death penalty system worldwide as well as his long-standing role as a human rights lawyer, activist, and educator.

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ENGAGING WITH states AND ADVOCATING TO END EXECUTIONS WORLDWIDE

The Special Rapporteur has built on the momentum created by the publication his report by continuing to engage with Governments and to advocate for the elimination of the death penalty extensively.  In May 2014, the Special Rapporteur joined other UN independent human rights experts to condemn the recent imposition of mass death sentences in Egypt.  Aside from efforts focused on the death penalty in the US, which are detailed below, the Special Rapporteur regularly engage with Governments and advocate against the use of the death penalty throughout the world, including Sudan, India, Iran, North Korea, China, Saudia Arabia, and other States.

 

PUBLICATION IN THE HUMAN RIGHTS BRIEF
Human Rights Brief

Human Rights Brief

The ATI supported the SRT in submitting a briefing paper on the death penalty report to the Human Rights Brief in order to make its content accessible to practitioners around the world in a summarized and practical format. The paper highlights the Special Rapporteurs’ conclusions regarding the application of the international prohibition of torture to the death penalty and the observable growing tendency of States to abolish the practice because it is considered contrary to this prohibition.

EVENT ON RACE, TORTURE, AND EXECUTION: A HUMAN RIGHTS ANALYSIS OF THE DEATH PENALTY IN U.S. PRISONS
Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez  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.

Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez 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.

October 10, 2013 – On the eve of World Day Against the Death Penalty the ATI organized an event together with the Center for Constitutional Rights and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) on Race, Torture, and Execution: A Human Rights Analysis on the Death Penalty in U.S. Prisons at American University Washington College of Law in Washington D.C The event featured a panel discussion and was also sponsored by Howard University Law School and the International Federation for Human Rights

 A VIDEO of the panel discussion is available here!

The event featured a panel discussion as part of the launch of a joint Report by CCR and FIDH that was released on October 10, 2013 to commemorate the World Day Against the Death Penalty. The report examines the United States’ use of the death penalty through an international human rights framework, which takes a close look at the use of the death penalty in Louisiana and California, considers deficiencies in existing legal processes, examines conditions on death row, and assesses whether the two States’ use of the death penalty conforms with international prohibitions against discrimination, torture, and cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.

As part of his follow-up efforts, Juan E. Méndez, the Special Rapporteur on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment, joined the event with a PRESENTATION that discussed the conclusions reached in his 2012 thematic Report on the Death Penalty and the Prohibition of Torture.

Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, with students, practitioners and faculty members at the Washington College of Law at American University.

Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, with students, practitioners and faculty members at the Washington College of Law at American University.

Latest News on Death Penalty!

Using the death penalty to fight drug crimes violates international law, UN rights experts warn World Day Against the Death Penalty

Using the death penalty to fight drug crimes violates international law, UN rights experts warn World Day Against the Death Penalty

October 10, 2015 – Today, on World Day Against the Death Penalty, United Nations Special Rapporteurs on torture, Juan E. Méndez, and on summary executions, Christof Heyns, remind Governments that “executions for drug crimes amount to a violation of international law and are unlawful killings.” It is estimated that drug-related sentences could account for around 1,000 executions a year worldwide. The two Special Rapporteurs reaffirmed that the death penalty has no role to play in the 21st century, and even less so in the case of drug-related offences. “We are looking forward to the time when it will no longer be necessary to have a special day on the death penalty; a time when all states have left this form of punishment behind them.” To read the press release in full, please visit the OHCHR website.

Special Rapporteur on Torture Urges Saudi Arabia to Halt Execution of Children

Special Rapporteur on Torture Urges Saudi Arabia to Halt Execution of Children

22 September 2015- On September 22, Special Rapporteur on Torture Juan E. Méndez, Special Rapporteur on Summary Executions Christof Heyns, and Chairperson of the Committee on the Rights of Child Benyam Mezmur urged the Government of Saudi Arabia to halt the imminent execution of Ali Mohammed al-Nimr, who was convicted of a crime reportedly committed when he was a child. During his arrest and detention Mr. Al-Namir was reportedly subjected to torture and ill treatment by the General Investigation Directorate, which coerced him to confess the charges against him. “Confessions obtained under torture are unacceptable and cannot be used as evidence before court,” the experts stressed. Saudi Arabia is a State party to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which carries with it international obligations. “Any judgment imposing the death penalty upon persons who were children at the time of the offence, and their execution, are incompatible with Saudi Arabia’s international obligations,” said the experts. The experts “urged the Saudi authorities to establish a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, halt executions of persons convicted who were children at the time of the offence, and ensure a prompt and impartial investigation into all alleged acts of torture.”

To read the full press release, please click here