Posted by: secretperson | April 14, 2008

The EU Reintroduces Death Penalty – Full Details

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
detained;
(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.

Link to full source text here (pdf).

Update
Link to nice short website with same content here

Further Update
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!

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Responses

  1. […] Death Penalty Update Following on from my earlier post on the EU’s approach to the death penalty, I have done some more […]

  2. “‘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:

    * in defence of any person from lawful violence;
    * in order to effect a lawful arrest or to prevent the escape of a person lawfully detained;
    * in action lawfully taken for the purpose of quelling a riot or insurrection.’
    Unfortunately, I already know of a way in which an exception (or is that the rule) may happen. This is true, even if it soulnds at first like a kiddies story;

    In La Chaux-de-Fonds (Switzerland), a few years ago, in the ground floor flat, in Terreaux 29, there lived a lady with her 3 sons. The police decided to arrest one of them and so dispatched a force of several officers. At the front door they were met by the son in question.

    The police officer, who did not know the son by sight, asked if “he” was there. The son replied no, and WALKED away down the road. Another policeman, who knew the son, saw what was happening, shot the son in the back. They were using Dum-dum bullets. He died instantly. No chance of excaping. As the police explained later, they were using dum-dum bullets “as they had not been specifically forbidden for police use” (although forbidden by the geneva convention for use in war!)

    Now, if the weapon being used, and the Swiss police have reintroduced an expanding bullet in several Cantons, give NO chance of survival to the person being hunted, is this not a ipso-facto case of a death penalty being carried out by a police force? (With no trial)

    The “absolutely necessary” bit of the article is only opinion, and the “opinion” of the police will always support other police. You only have to look at the Menzies “trial”, in which 7 shots to the head will will probably be called legitimate “prevention of someone trying to excape. Death penalty for mistaken identity.


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