52nd session of the Human Rights Council
Biennial high-level panel on death penalty.
Theme: Human rights violations relating to the use of the death penalty,
in particular with respect to limiting the death penalty to the most serious crimes
Joint Statement, delivered by H.E. Christian Guillermet - Viceminister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica on behalf of a group of countries.
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I deliver this statement on behalf of a cross regional group of countries.
In light of today’s discussion related to limiting the death penalty to the most serious crimes– we recall States’ obligations under the ICCPR, under which countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty, can only apply it for offences that amount to “the most serious crimes”, and observing the procedural guarantees prescribed in the Covenant. All detainees are entitled to the right to a fair hearing by an independent tribunal, the presumption of innocence, access to a lawyer and other minimum guarantees for the defence, and the right to review by a higher tribunal.
We are deeply concerned by the use of the death penalty in Iran. Several hundred people were reportedly executed in Iran between 2022 and 2023, including juvenile offenders.
In recent months, Iran has handed down or sought to impose death sentences against dozens of individuals arrested in connection with their participation in protests following the death in custody of Jina Mahsa Amini.
We are concerned by the nature of the offences for which the death penalty was applied, the speed of the trials, lack of transparency, and credible reports that defendants did not have proper access to lawyers of their choosing and were subject to torture or other inhumane treatment.
The death penalty must not be instrumentalised by any State to punish individuals participating in protests and to strike fear into the population with the aim of chilling dissent.
We note the High Commissioner’s call on Iran “to respect the lives and voices of its people, to impose an immediate moratorium on the death penalty and to halt all executions”, and urge Iran to cooperate with all UN human rights mechanisms, including the Council’s Fact-Finding Mission.
- Costa Rica
- Marshall Islands
- New Zealand
- North Macedonia
- San Marino
- United Kingdom
- United States