A number of bloggers have picked up on a story that the EU, through the Lisbon treaty may re-introduce the death penalty it has been so vocal against. (hat-tip to Wonko).
Now it is a requirement of EU membership that the death penalty is abolished, and the EU even dedicates the 10th of October as Anti-Death Penalty Day. So I was quite surprised to read here and here that the new Lisbon treaty introduces the death penalty in times of “rioting, civil upheaval and during war”.
The truth of the matter seems to be that the Lisbon treaty gives full legal powers to the European Charter of Fundamental Rights. And contained within this document are the relevent passages:
Article 2 states:
1. Everyone has the right to life.
2. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.
The paragraphs of interest are the footnotes to this seemingly clear statement:
(a) Article 2(2) of the ECHR:
‘Deprivation of life shall not be regarded as inflicted in contravention of this Article
when it results from the use of force which is no more than absolutely necessary:
(a) in defence of any person from unlawful violence;
(b) in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully
(c) in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.’
(b) Article 2 of Protocol No 6 to the ECHR:
‘A State may make provision in its law for the death penalty in respect of acts
committed in time of war or of imminent threat of war; such penalty shall be applied
only in the instances laid down in the law and in accordance with its provisions…’
So esentially the first part allows police to use weapons in riots, prisoner escapes and to defend the public, and if someone dies it won’t count as an execution. And the second part means the death penalty isn’t outlawed at all, but is allowed in “time of war” or “imminent threat of war”. So presumably, with us in Iraq it would be legal.
Something to think about next 10th October as the EUphiles claim the EU stops the death penalty completely.
The “time of war” thing may have been replaced, but the rest remains. I post more here.
Even Further Update
This post is being used as evidence of the EU introducing the death penalty but I worry not enough people are reading the update! The EU outlaws the judicial death penalty (i.e. death being passed as a sentence by a judge). If someone dies in the course of police business (in quelling riots, protecting the public etc) that might still be wrong but isn’t covered by the definition of ‘death penalty’. Don’t worry, they are not out to get us in that way!