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1. The European Union and its Member States welcome the regular thematic debate on the death penalty, an issue where all Council of Europe Member States have a united position and share mutual values and ideals. This Organization plays a ground-breaking and prominent role, and will continue to do so.
2. It is always relevant to reiterate our position. The European Union and its Member States oppose the death penalty in all times and circumstances. Capital punishment is incompatible with human dignity and makes any miscarriage of justice permanent and irreversible. In addition, the death penalty does not have any proven deterrent effect.
3. Abolition of capital punishment is an absolute requirement to become a Member State of the European Union and also a precondition for membership to the Council of Europe. It is a unique accomplishment of Europe, a core value of both Organizations. This is a policy area where there is a strong agreement within the European Union and it constitutes a priority of the EU’s external action.
4. The large majority of the Council of Europe’s Member States, including all members of the European Union have confirmed their commitment to the abolition of the death penalty in all circumstances, including in time of war or of imminent threat of war, by ratifying Protocols no.6 and no.13 to the European Convention of Human Rights. We would like to call member countries that have not yet done so to ratify them as soon as possible. We also urge all Member States of the Council of Europe to maintain and ensure compliance with the legal and political obligations intrinsic to their membership status.
5. The EU and its Member States deeply deplore that, against the international trend towards abolition, two secret executions were carried out and one death sentence was imposed in Belarus since our last discussion on 17 October 2018. We repeat our strong call on the authorities of Belarus to establish a formal moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition of the death penalty, to apply the alternative punishment provided for in the Belarusian criminal legislation and to commute the death sentences which have been imposed. Dialogue is indispensable to ensure progress and we restate our willingness to provide the authorities of Belarus with the assistance they may need for such a formal moratorium to be introduced, including for raising public awareness, possibly in the framework of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Belarus, and also in co-operation with the Council of Europe Information Point in Minsk. In this context, we welcomed the participation of a ministerial delegation from Belarus to the 7th World Congress against Death Penalty, held in Brussels in February 2019, and their participation in a round table devoted to Belarus organised by the Council of Europe, with the participation inter alia of civil society representatives and relatives of executed persons.
6. The EU and its Member States regret the ongoing application of capital punishment in Japan and some states of the United States of America, both observer States of the Council of Europe. We urge both countries to abolish the death penalty and in the meantime to establish a moratorium on executions. The execution of Mr Roberto Moreno Ramos in November 2018 in the State of Texas is especially regrettable, despite the efforts made by the Chairperson of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. The EU welcomes the moratorium on executions in the State of California, achieving a total of 4 states with a formal moratorium on capital punishments and 20 states that have legally abolished the death penalty. The EU takes note of document DD (209)399 distributed for this debate by the delegation of the USA.
7. We urge all Member States of the Council of Europe to continue taking effective measures to prevent their involvement, however indirect, in the use of the death penalty by third countries, for instance by adopting measures that prevent the trade in goods that could subsequently be used to carry out executions.
8. Cooperation with the Council of Europe is crucial on this matter. It is essential to develop coordination strategies in order to reach the worldwide abolition of the death penalty.
9. Only a harmonised and constant action of each and every relevant actor, by means of all available instruments in all suitable fora, can guarantee the accomplishment of our mutual objective: the universal abolition of capital punishment. In this regard, it is important to mention the adoption by the UN General Assembly, on 17 December 2018, of a resolution calling for a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
The following countries align with this statement: Albania, Andorra, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, Norway, San Marino, Serbia, Ukraine.