1. Revision of the previous session 2. The Death Penalty
Death and the Law
1. What does the Suicide Act 1961 criminalise / decriminalise? 2. What is the difference between euthanasia and assisted suicide? 3. In what situations can non-voluntary euthanasia be performed? 5. What are advanced directives? 6. What is the legislative situation regarding euthanasia in the UK and the USA? 7. What do you know about the Dutch and Swiss regulations?
a.k.a. the capital punishment or execution the killing of a person as punishment for a crime in a judicial process common methods: ◦ lethal injection ◦ electrocution ◦ hanging ◦ firing squad
abolished by 95 countries still used by 58 countries (e.g. the USA, China, Japan, Iran, Indonesia) in other countries the death penalty is legal but not used
ABOLITION INITIATIVES UN Human Rights Commission 1999 ◦ Resolution supporting Worldwide Moratorium on Executions opposed by the above countries
The Council of Europe ◦ 6th Protocol to the ECHR (1983) prohibits the death penalty in time of peace ◦ 13th Protocol to the ECHR (2002) prohibits the death penalty in all circumstances requirement for any applicant country
The European Union ◦ Charter of Fundamental Rights of the EU ◦ drafted in 2000, entered into force with the Treaty of Lisbon, 1 Dec 2009 ◦ among other things, prohibits the death penalty
The United Kingdom abolished ◦ 1969 most crimes except treason and some military crimes ◦ 1998 all crimes ratified the 6th Protocol in 1998, 13th in 2003 last execution in 1964 last woman to be executed: Ruth Ellis, 1955
The People’s Republic of China estimates: several thousand people executed every year methods: lethal injection and firing squad capital crimes – not only murder but also some economic and property crimes (tax fraud, crimes against national symbols and treasures, corruption, etc.) repeating of crimes key to punishment
Iran capital crimes: murder, rape, drug trafficking, terrorism, kidnapping, paedophilia, etc. but also: apostasy, adultery and homosexuality methods: hanging and stoning (disputed) claims of capital punishment carried out on minors
Croatia abolished with the Constitution of the RC 1990 last execution performed in 1987 (Dušan Kosić, for quadruple homicide)
The United States of America abolished by law in 12 states + the DC several states have death penalty laws but don’t apply them death penalty imposed, but carried out in approximately 10% of cases (e.g. Texas executes 40% and California 1% of those sentenced) capital crimes: although legislations vary, in practice mostly given for murder with aggravating circumstances
The United States of America federal suspension of the d.p. declared as ‘cruel and unusual punishment’, prohibited by the 8th Amendment to the Constitution, although each SC Justice provided different reasons methods: lethal injection (by far most common); also used: electrocution, lethal gas, firing squad
The United States of America racial issues African Americans convicted of homicide and sentenced to death 3-4 times more often than whites studies have shown that the race of the victim may be more decisive in giving the death penalty
two views: ◦ abolitionist (against the death penalty) ◦ retentionist (in favour of the death penalty) Think of arguments for abolitionist, i.e. retentionist views!
Lord Kennet’s speech in the House of Lords, 1961 expressed his views on the capital punishment summarised it in five verbs: ◦ prevent ◦ reform ◦ research ◦ deter ◦ avenge What do you think he meant under these verbs? Read and find out.
(by Roger Hood, Professor of Criminology, Oxford University) an extreme example of torture, violation of human rights – illegitimate for a state to employ no convincing evidence that murder rate is lower in jurisdictions where capital punishment exists practice has shown that it is regularly applied with a dose of arbitrariness, inequity and discrimination counterproductive in moral terms – undermines the moral authority of the legal system