The Death Penalty. Unit 21. Concerns:. Can a system , based on the rule of law , run the risk of killing an innocent person ? Is it acceptable to apply the death penalty when there is an alternative?
Can a system, based on theruleoflaw, runtheriskofkillinganinnocentperson?
Is it acceptable to applythedeathpenaltywhenthere is an alternative?
Is it humane to keep a person on deathrow for years, notknowingifthenextrdaywillbe his/her last?
Is it acceptable to execute a personwithamentaldisorder?
Canthispunishmentbe applied to a person who was a minor at the time ofthecrime?
Doesthedeathpenaltyserve a real purpose?
Progressive restrictionof capital offencces
TheInternationalCovenant on Civil andPoliticalRights (1966): “Incountrieswhichhavenotabolishedthedeathpenalty, sentence ofdeathmaybeimposedonly for the most seriouscrimes”
Theexclusionofchildoffenders, i.e. thoseunder 18 yearsof age at the time oftheoffence
Theexclusionofpregnantwomen, new mothersandpeopleover 70 yearsof age
Theexclusionof “persons who havebecomeinsane” and “personssufferingfrommentalretardation or extremelylimitedmentalcompetence, whether at thestageof sentence or execution”
Therightofappeal to a higher court
Theright to petition for clemency
TheSupreme Court heldthat it was a violationofthe American Constitution to imposethedeathpenalty on a mentallyretardedperson;
Also: a challenge to theconstitutionalityofexecutingpersons who had committed a capital offencewhenunderthe age of 18 – notsuccessful
FollowedbytheNetherlands, Romania, Italy, andNorway
Afterthe first world war: Sweden, Denmark, Switzerland
In 1962: executionswerecarriedoutinwestern Europe inthe UK, France, Greece, the Irish Republic, Spain
TheRussianFederation: moratorium on all executionssince 1996
Theright to life andtherightnot to besubjectedtocruel,inhumananddegradingtreatment or punishment
theright to a fairtrial