EU Statement on halting federal executions in the United States

OSCE Permanent Council No. 1323, Vienna, 8 July 2021.

The European Union welcomes United States’ Attorney General’s decision to impose a moratorium on all federal executions until the US Department of Justice reviews its policies and procedures on capital punishment.

This moratorium temporarily reverses the US justice department decision to resume federal executions in July 2020, after a 17-year hiatus, which led to an unprecedented rush of 13 federal executions in the following six months.

The EU hopes that this positive step will contribute to bringing capital punishment to a definitive end at federal level and pave the way for the nationwide abolition of capital punishment in the US.

The EU 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.

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 REPUBLIC of NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*, SERBIA* and ALBANIA*, the Country of the Stabilisation and Association Process and Potential Candidate BOSNIA and HERZEGOVINA, and the EFTA countries ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, members of the European Economic Area, as well as UKRAINE, the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA, GEORGIA, 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.