Delegation of the European Union to the Council of Europe

EU Statement on the death penalty in the USA

Brussels, 09/09/2020 - 16:53, UNIQUE ID: 200909_5
Statements on behalf of the EU

1381th Meeting of the Committee of Ministers (9 September 2020)

  1. The EU expresses its deep concern about the recent developments regarding the death penalty in the United States of America, an observer State to the Council of Europe. Since July, five federal executions have been carried out, as well as one at the state level, in Texas.

  2. Given the fact that no executions at the federal level had taken place since 2003, the executions of Daniel Lewis Lee, Wesley Ira Purkey, Dustin Lee Honken, Lezmond Mitchell and Keith Dwayne Nelson, represent a setback in this regard. These executions, and the one of Billy Joe Wardlow, the third of its kind this year in Texas, go against the growing trend to abandon capital punishment in the United States and in the world.

  3. The EU reaffirms its strong and unequivocal opposition to the use of the death penalty at all times and under all circumstances. Capital punishment violates the inalienable right to life and is incompatible with human dignity. It cannot be justified by the horrific nature of the crimes committed or by the unimaginable suffering of the victims’ families. Moreover, it is by now undisputed that the death penalty does not serve as an effective deterrent to crime and renders any miscarriage of justice irreversible.

4.   We reiterate our call upon the Federal Government and upon those states of the United States which still apply the death penalty to commute remaining death sentences and to establish a moratorium on executions as a first step towards full abolition.

The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Ukraine.