Devising a strategy to support ratifications of the UN protocol
The participants discussed several aspects of the Second Optional Protocol to the ICCPR. Former Amnesty International France president Denys Robiliard insisted on the irrevocable nature of the treaty, which state parties cannot repeal. This makes it an important tool for the abolition of the death penalty.
Nathalie Jeannin of FIACAT highlighted the role of the UN’s Human Rights Committee, which oversees the implementation of the protocol. “NGOs need the Committee’s final observations as much as the Committee needs the NGOs’ experience and field expertise to help follow up on its recommendations on the ground.” She recommended that the World Coalition works in close co-operation with the Committee.
Terrorism and war-time crimes
Yevgeyni Zhovtis, who heads the Kazakhstan Bureau for Human Rights, told the participants about the death penalty situation in his country and its difficulties in ratifying the protocol. Recent constitutional reform reduced of capital offenses to terrorism and war-time crimes, while the only reservation allowed by the protocol concerns crimes committed during war time.
Discussions with the public proved very interesting, with most participants asking: “Why have all abolitionist countries not yet ratified the protocol?”
The World Coalition will have to answer this question in its upcoming ratification campaign.