FIACAT has organised a round table with ACAT France on Death Penalty: an inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment
The conditions of detention for the condemned are dreadful: the psychological pressures, the excruciating wait for the execution. But there are also the procedures themselves, all of which are cruel: stoning, hanging, lethal injection or electric chair. Can one qualify the conditions of detention and the procedures of inhumane treatments? Are they not all cruel and degrading? Can this argument have a legal authenticity and be a source of leverage for abolitionists? These questions are crucial to today’s case against the death penalty.
Much has already been done, in particular within the Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations, (now the Council on Human Rights) by its successive resolutions regarding the death penalty. It asks Nations "to take care that, when capital punishment is applied, it is carried out so as to cause the minimum possible of sufferings and is not carried out in public or in any other degrading way, and that particularly cruel or inhuman modes of execution, like stoning, must be immediately put to end."
The "Soering case" of the European Court of Human Rights also makes statements with the same sense: "Have regard, however, for the very long period to be passed in the "hall of death" under such extreme conditions, for the omnipresent and increasing anguish about the execution, and for the personal situation of the person to be executed, in particular his or her age and mental state at the time of the infringement. The extradition to the United States would reveal the concerned party at the real risk of punishment exceeding the threshold fixed by article 3. The adoption, in this case, of another means of achieving the legitimate goal of the extradition without involving suffering at such an exceptional intensity or duration, would be another additional relevant consideration. "It is thus contrary to article 3 of the CDEDH" No one can be subjected to torture or to distress or treatment that is inhumane or degrading.
On the basis of the definition of the inhumane treatment that is cruel and degrading, its dismantling must rely on analyses of the various countries where it is applied - Japan, the Caribbean, Pakistan, Uganda and the USA. The death penalty is connected with cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment because of the intensity of conditions of detention - physical and psychological, of the differences in treatments between the prisoners condemned to death, and also of the differences in circumstances between rich countries, such as the United States or Japan, and that of poorer countries. Some advanced nations are thus capable, on the international level, of considering the death penalty a cruel, inhumane, and degrading form of punishment.
Chair: Marc Zarrouatti, President of ACAT-France.
Guest Speaker: Thomas Hammarberg, Commissioner for Human Rights, Council of Europe.
Mr Kamran Arif, Vice-Chair, Human Rights Commission - Pakistan.
Mr Piers Bannister, Amnesty International Secretariat international, death penalty team coordinator - UK.
Ms Sylvie Bukhari de Pontual, President of FIACAT. Lawyer at the Paris Bar - France.
Mr Edmary Mpagi, Ugandan ex-death row inmate - Uganda.
Mr Livingstone Ssewanyana, initiative for human rights - Uganda
Mr Jim Welsh, Amnesty International, International Secretariat, Coordinator of the medical Program and Human Rights of Amnesty International - United Kingdom.
Thursday 1 February 2007
09:30 am - Welcome
10:00 am - Opening session with the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
12:00 am - Pre-lunch drinks party for delegates
1:30 pm / 3:30 pm - Round table sessions
3:45 pm / 4:45 pm - Focus on current events
5:00 pm / 7:30 pm - Keynote debate “The paths towards abolition in North Africa and the Middle East”
8:45 pm / Personal experiences of those closely involved with the death penalty
Friday 2 February 2007
09:00 am / 10:00 am - Plenary Session
10:00 am / 12:00 am - Round table sessions
11:30 am / 3:00 pm - Abolitionist workshops and Action Area
1:00 pm / 3:00 pm – Round table sessions
3:30 pm / 5:00 pm - Questions and Answers in plenary session
5:00 pm / 7:00 pm: - Keynote debate in plenary session: China
8:00 pm / Reception at the Paris Bar Association
Saturday 3 February 2007
10:00 am - Formal conference ceremony
2:00 pm- Peaceful walk in Paris organised by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty
All debates, round tables, focus and workshops are free and opened to the general public.
For more information download the Congressist’s file !
Final declaration of the 3rd World Congress against the Death Penalty
For more information, go to Ensemble Contre la Peine de Mort website