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United States: the rapporteur on the abolition of the death penalty welcomes the announcement of the temporary halt of federal executions

Vladimir Vardanyan (Armenia, EPP/CD), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, has welcomed last Thursday’s announcement of the United States Attorney General Merrick Garland to temporarily halt federal executions until the US Department of Justice reviews its policies and procedures on the death penalty.

“The death penalty is always a cruel and inhuman punishment, whatever the crime, and it should no longer be applied in democratic States that respect human rights,” he said.

“After 13 executions were carried out at a federal level between July 2020 and January 2021 under President Donald Trump’s administration, the new moratorium is a step forward towards the abolition of the capital sentence and is in line with the growing abolitionist trend in individual States within the USA and worldwide. However, more must be done and I believe that the US Department of Justice will return, on a permanent basis, to its prior practice of not carrying out executions.

Therefore, I call again on the federal authorities of the United States, an observer State at the Council of Europe, to end capital punishment at a federal level, in line with our shared values as spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and relevant international treaties. I also hope that the US government will undertake all the necessary steps to halt the policy on the death penalty at a State level,” Mr Vardanyan concluded.