EU Statement on the resumption of executions in the US State of Oklahoma

OSCE Permanent Council No. 1343, Vienna, 4 November 2021.

1. The EU deeply regrets the resumption of executions in the US State of Oklahoma, following a six-year de facto moratorium.

2. The execution of John Marion Grant on 28 October, and the setting of six additional execution dates in a short period of time is contrary to the clear trend to dispense with the death penalty in the US, where a growing majority of States have already abolished the death penalty or stopped using it.

3. Furthermore, the EU is deeply disturbed by eyewitness reports indicating that Mr. John Marion Grant died in great distress, reportedly due to his reaction to the drug combination used in his execution. This method had previously resulted in the controversial executions of Clayton Locket in April 2014 and Charles Warner in January 2015, leading to a de facto moratorium and ongoing court proceedings over whether Oklahoma’s protocol of execution violates the US Constitution’s eighth amendment protection against cruel and unusual punishment. Mr. Julius Jones is the next person in line to be executed in the US State of Oklahoma, on 18th November 2021.

4. Ending the trade in goods used in capital punishment is particularly important for eliminating the death penalty. The Global Alliance for Torture-Free Trade today involves 62 states. We call on all states to join it and to step up efforts towards establishing common international standards on torture-free trade.

5. The EU again reaffirms its strong opposition to the use of the death penalty at all times and in all circumstances. The death penalty violates the inalienable right to life enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and is the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment. Miscarriages of justice, inevitable in any judicial system, are irreversible. Capital punishment also fails to act as a deterrent to crime.

6. The EU will continue its long-standing campaign against the death penalty, including within the OSCE. We call on the two participating States that still maintain the death penalty in law and in practice, as well as on relevant OSCE Partners for Cooperation, to introduce a moratorium on executions as a first step towards abolition.

The Candidate Countries the REPUBLIC of NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, SERBIA* and ALBANIA*, the EFTA countries ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as UKRAINE, the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, ANDORRA and SAN MARINO align themselves with this statement.

* Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia and Albania continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.