NGO report

Strengthening death penalty standards

By Penal Reform International, on 1 January 2015

Where the death penalty is applied, international law, jurisprudence and practice require that certain minimum standards are applied. The standards include international and regional treaties that are legally binding on states that have ratified them, customary international law that is binding on all states without exception, and non-binding standards and resolutions that nonetheless command the support of the majority of states. International understanding of these minimum standards has continued to evolve in the years since they were drafted, but the documents themselves do not always keep pace. This paper brings together international, regional and national standards, the most recent understandings of relevant experts and appropriate insights from other connected disciplines. It explores possible ways in which international minimum standards could be further strengthened at this time, whether through ECOSOC, the UN Human Rights Council, the UN Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice, regional bodies or national amendments to laws and policies. In each section, the issue and current practice is described, followed by examples of good practice or suggestions for improvement, finishing with a short list of recommendations for strengthening existing standards. These issues and recommendations are not final, but are intended to provide a point from which discussion can begin.

  • Document type NGO report
  • Themes list International law, Legal Representation,