Statement on the Occasion of the World Day against the Death Penalty

Delivered by Minister Counsellor Henning Hj. Johansen to the Permanent Council, Vienna, 12 October 2017

| Vienna


I am also speaking on behalf of Canada, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Mongolia, San Marino and Switzerland.

This year, the World Day Against the Death Penalty highlighted the issue of whether people living in poverty or members of socially marginalised and discriminated groups are at greater risk of being sentenced to death and executed.  Social and economic inequality must play no role in access to justice, especially when the defendant risks the sentence of death.

Our countries oppose the death penalty in all cases and without exception. The death penalty is a form of punishment incompatible with human rights and human dignity. The death penalty is irreversible. There is a risk of mistake in all criminal justice systems, and innocent people are at times wrongfully convicted. No state should be willing to perpetuate the miscarriage of justice through the application of the death penalty. Moreover, it is well documented that capital punishment does not itself deter crime.  

There is a global trend to move away from the use of the death penalty, and more than two out of three countries worldwide have now abolished the death penalty by law or in practice.

Three OSCE participating states maintain the death penalty in law, but have moratoriums on executions. Two OSCE participating states retain the death penalty in both law and in practice. They have both carried out executions this year. We strongly urge these states to suspend all executions, take immediate steps towards abolition, and join our efforts to free our region of the death penalty.

Thank you.