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Death penalty declining, but vigilance still needed in face of calls for the restoration of capital punishment in some member States, says General Rapporteur

Death row

Declassifying today an information note prepared by Vladimir Vardanyan (Armenia, EPP/CD), the Legal Affairs Committee took stock of the abolition of the death penalty in Council of Europe member States (the Russian Federation), observer States (United States, Japan and Israel), States whose parliaments hold “partner for democracy” status (Jordan, Kyrgyzstan, Morocco and Palestine), Kazakhstan (which has co-operation status) and Belarus (which wishes to have closer links with the Council of Europe), taking into account developments since October 2020.

After a brief overview of the international and European legal framework, the note presents the current situation “in States that have abolished the death penalty only for ordinary crimes, those that provide for the death penalty in their legislation but do not implement it, and those that actually do apply it”.

The General Rapporteur on this issue, Vladimir Vardanyan, stressed that by and large, the global trend was toward less and less use of the death penalty and that this trend was even more marked in Europe, where it was driven by the Council of Europe. “But there is still work to be done, and the Assembly has to remain vigilant about the developments in some member States, given certain political statements promoting the reintroduction of capital punishment,” he concluded.

The Committee organised a hearing with the participation of Chiara Sangiorgio, Policy Adviser/Death Penalty for Amnesty International (London) and Gilberto Jeronimo, Permanent Representative of Portugal to the Council of Europe, who provided information on the situation at world and European level, and on ways to achieve total abolition of the death penalty.