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July 5, 2012

U.N. Secretary-General calls for worldwide abolition of capital punishment

As reported in this AP article, "U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon has called for the death penalty to be abolished."  Here is more:

Ban told a panel on the issue convened Tuesday by the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights: "The taking of life is too absolute, too irreversible, for one human being to inflict on another, even when backed by legal process."

Since the General Assembly endorsed a call for a death penalty moratorium in 2007, several nations have abolished the death penalty, including Argentina, Burundi, Gabon, Latvia, Togo and Uzbekistan.  The U.N. says 150 nations have either abolished the death penalty or do not practice it.

Ban said he was especially concerned that the death penalty is still used for juvenile offenders, and 32 nations use it for drug-related offenses.

For a host of reasons, I do not expect US officials to echo this UN call for worldwide abolition of the death penalty.  But I could imagine the US agreeing to a UN resolution which says the death penalty should be reserved for only the very worst crimes such a intentional murder, treason and acts of terrorism.  I wonder if both opponents and supporters of the death penalty inside the US would be willing and even eager to have the US serve as a potent international advocate for limiting the use of the death penalty in this way worldwide.

July 5, 2012 at 05:19 AM | Permalink

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"But I could imagine the US agreeing to a UN resolution which says the death penalty should be reserved for only the very worst crimes such a intentional murder, treason and acts of terrorism. I wonder if both opponents and supporters of the death penalty inside the US would be willing and even eager to have the US serve as a potent international advocate for limiting the use of the death penalty in this way worldwide."

I would happily support a statement backing use of the DP for the crimes noted, and ONLY those crimes, if abolitionists would do the same.

Some of us are willing to reach an accommodation. I'll be eager to see how many death penalty opponents will agree to the same accommodation.

Early guess: Zip. This will provide some information about who is willing to undertake pragmatic compromise in a world of various and competing views, and who are the Holier Than Thou, Dug In True Believers.

I will be happy to be proven wrong by the abolitionist side. But I won't be holding my breath.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 5, 2012 8:04:24 AM

I call for a worldwide abolition of murder.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 5, 2012 3:25:54 PM

I'm a prosecutor, but I oppose the death penalty. It is, in my view, state-sponsored murder. The mere fact that the State carrying out an execution calls it a lawful homicide does not change the fact that an execution is a cold-blooded, premeditated killing. If I committed a killing, I don't have the authority to declare it lawful. Why should the state have such authority?

Posted by: Rafael Cardona | Jul 5, 2012 4:38:16 PM

Bravo Otis!
Complimenti!
The best joke of the week.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 5, 2012 5:49:55 PM

Rafael Cardona --

"Why should the state have such authority?"

Because, for those of us who believe in democratic self-government, the majority of the electorate -- i.e., the motor of state power -- can make such rules and adopt such punishments as it sees fit, within Constitutional constraints. Since the DP is within Constitutional constraints (see Gregg, Baze), the state has the authority to adopt and enforce it.

P.S. The question whether killing is "murder" does not turn on whether it's cold blooded. It turns on whether it's unlawful. Imposition of the DP in accordance with the governing statute and at the order of a court is lawful, and thus not murder.

You're a prosecutor and you don't know this?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 5, 2012 5:55:12 PM

Rafael: In what country do you prosecute, if I may ask?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 5, 2012 6:37:46 PM

Aren't the only countries other than the USA that have the death
penalty a bunch rogue, outlaw regimes --- Iran, Syria, Somalia, China, North
Korea, etc.?

The company you keep....

Posted by: John John, Jr. | Jul 5, 2012 6:43:33 PM

What is a Bill Otis? It sounds revolting.

Posted by: Stan Gilliland | Jul 5, 2012 7:34:16 PM

Stan Gilliland --

"What is a Bill Otis? It sounds revolting."

Does that mean you would, or would not, agree to Doug's proposal for a UN resolution on the scope of the death penalty?

I would agree, and have (Bill Otis | Jul 5, 2012 8:04:24 AM). No death penalty opponent has yet taken a position on the question. Do you have one?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 5, 2012 11:12:17 PM

hmm

""But I could imagine the US agreeing to a UN resolution which says the death penalty should be reserved for only the very worst crimes such a intentional murder, treason and acts of terrorism. I wonder if both opponents and supporters of the death penalty inside the US would be willing and even eager to have the US serve as a potent international advocate for limiting the use of the death penalty in this way worldwide."

I would happily support a statement backing use of the DP for the crimes noted, and ONLY those crimes, if abolitionists would do the same."

wasn't this ideal the same one used to get the Sex Offender Regisry in the 1990's passed?

"To be used only for VIOLENT or REPEAT OFFENDERS" Now of course it has on it 100's of THOUSANDS who are NEITHER!

SORRY we don't need anymore lierlaws!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 5, 2012 11:21:12 PM

"Aren't the only countries other than the USA that have the death
penalty a bunch rogue, outlaw regimes --- Iran, Syria, Somalia, China, North
Korea, etc.?

The company you keep...."

No, you're wrong. Other countries that currently have the death penalty include India, Japan, Trinidad & Tobago, Jamaica, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Posted by: alpino | Jul 6, 2012 12:23:42 AM

@Rafael Cardona
"I'm a prosecutor, but I oppose the death penalty. It is, in my view, state-sponsored murder. The mere fact that the State carrying out an execution calls it a lawful homicide does not change the fact that an execution is a cold-blooded, premeditated killing. If I committed a killing, I don't have the authority to declare it lawful. Why should the state have such authority?"

The state has the authority to put a criminal to death under certain circumstances for the same reason that it can imprison one for life. Otherwise, the state could be charged with kidnapping. By the same standard levying fines is not the same as robbery and collecting taxes is not the equivalent of government extortion.

Posted by: MikeinCT | Jul 6, 2012 2:38:51 AM

Mike: One must add something. If the government action is to benefit a party rather than the the general public, the tax is called a rent. The rent is a synonym for armed robbery.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 6, 2012 5:23:38 AM

Here it is, two days after Doug's entry was posted, and STILL no death penalty opponent has agreed to the compromise UN resolution Doug proposed.

Let this be remembered next time the abolitionist flamers decry RETENTIONISTS as being ideologues.

What we have here are pragmatic people on one side -- retentionists -- ready to understand a pluralistic society's need for compromise on divisive issues and, on the other side -- the abolitionist side -- a bunch of snarling, nose uplifted, Holier-Than-Thou True Believers for whom it's my way or the highway.

Then they launch into their lecture about how much more civilized they are!

You gotta love it.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 6, 2012 8:28:48 AM

hmm why would i or anyone agree to this? It's just another fucktard lier trying to get something they know they will NEVER get unless they sugarcoat it and shove it down someone's throat.

sorry i've seen our lieing govt in action. so i treat anything they say using their previous HISTORY as a base.

On that base anything our govt says hit's this wall...

How do you know they are lieing!......easy THEIR MOUTH IS MOVING!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 6, 2012 3:35:08 PM

Dear Mr. Otis,
I am an abolitionist and I can assure you that NOBODY is interested in that proposal
Dott. Claudio Giusti
Via Don Minzoni 40, 47100 Forlì, Italia
Tel. 39/0543/401562 39/340/4872522
e-mail giusticlaudio@alice.it
http://www.astrangefruit.org/index.php/it/
http://www.astrangefruit.org/index.php/en/
http://www.osservatoriosullalegalita.org/special/penam.htm
Member of the Scientific Committee of Osservatorio sulla Legalità e i Diritti, Claudio Giusti had the privilege and the honour to participate in the first congress of the Italian Section of Amnesty International: later he was one of the founders of the World Coalition Against The Death Penalty.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 6, 2012 5:39:52 PM

Claudio --

"Dear Mr. Otis,
I am an abolitionist and I can assure you that NOBODY is interested in that proposal."

Doug Berman is interested in it; indeed, he made it.

The difference between Doug and you is that Doug is a principled pragmatist and you are an absolutist unwilling to make the compromises necessary to the untidy realities of democratic rule.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 6, 2012 6:36:22 PM

Sorry, with nobody I mean no sane abolitionist.
I would like nobody will sue use the word democracy as an excuse for torture, slavery, racial segregation, etc.
Remember Soviet Russia in 1948 proposed the abolition of DP in time of peace was written in the Universal Declaration of HR. The stronger opposition came from the total abolitionist countries.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 7, 2012 8:37:15 AM

Claudio --

Neither Doug Berman nor I has ever supported torture, slavery or racial segregation. And if you find democracy with its many flaws unacceptably deficient, I await your suggestion as to what form of government should take its place.

I repeat what you do not deny: The difference between Doug and you is that Doug is a principled pragmatist and you are an absolutist unwilling to make the compromises necessary to the untidy realities of democratic rule. The fact that you proclaim the DP immoral, and proclaim it indignantly, does not make it so, nor does it make your opinion controlling in a democratic system in which there are many other, and opposing, opinions.

If you refuse to deal with this reality, fine, go refuse. What will happen is not that you will win. What will happen is that you will become irrelevant.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 7, 2012 9:30:40 AM

So.
U.S. with slavery was NOT a democracy.
Then, with apartheid was NOT a democratic country.
Now with torture …
At the end what’s more democratic than a good lynch mob?

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 7, 2012 12:24:23 PM

Claudio --

"At the end what’s more democratic than a good lynch mob?"

Informed public opinion and the laws of the majority of states and the federal government, all of which heavily support the death penalty.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 7, 2012 3:52:50 PM

as I always say:
elections do not mean democracy,
democracy doesn’t mean respect for Human Rights,
At the end majority doesn’t mean anything (except in road cleaning, tax leaving and garbage collection)

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 7, 2012 4:26:15 PM

Claudio --

"At the end majority doesn’t mean anything (except in road cleaning, tax leaving and garbage collection)."

Who, then, is to make the laws we live under, if not the majority?

The Grand Council of Wise Leaders Who Know Better Than the Unwashed Masses?

The Imperial Klud?

You?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 7, 2012 5:25:49 PM

You like hanging majorities and you do not understand the respect of Humnan Rights is NOT a question of 51 or 49 per cent.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 7, 2012 5:30:09 PM

Claudio --

Since you didn't answer, I'll ask again:

Who is to make the laws we live under, if not the majority?

The Grand Council of Wise Leaders Who Know Better Than the Unwashed Masses?

The Imperial Klud?

You?


Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 7, 2012 6:15:20 PM

now bill you know very very well the minority is passing the laws...that 1% that are politicians and their masters who have bought and sold them for DECADES!

everything else is just theatre!

Otherwise when most places went to electronic voting they would have REQUIRED a mandated a paper record of the votes as recorded by each machine to be used in the case of any arguments.

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 8, 2012 3:04:54 AM

For someone the meaning of the Bill of Rights is to protect people from the will of the majority and even an enthusiastic hangman-friend like Justice Antonin Scalia believes the majority rule doesn’t apply to some kind of punishment.
If you think the will of the people is the best law you have no problem with slavery, racial discrimination, genocide, torture and the likes

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 8, 2012 2:23:12 PM

Claudio --

Since again you didn't answer, I'll continue to ask:

Who is to make the laws we live under, if not the majority?

The Grand Council of Wise Leaders Who Know Better Than the Unwashed Masses?

The Imperial Klud?

You?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 8, 2012 3:15:42 PM

I am afraid B.O. is no able to understand some very simple question:
will you accept slavery if the majority of your citizens want it?

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 8, 2012 3:20:32 PM

Claudio --

First, cut out the B.O. crap. It's bad enough that you're arrogant; being arrogant and juvenile is more than I'm going to put up with.

Second, I would not accept slavery if the majority of the citizens want it because, as I have said maybe a hundred times, democratic rule must be within Constitutional bounds. So that's it for slavery. The death penalty, howeever, IS within Constitutional bounds, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly held.

Now that I have answered your question, let's see, for the fourth time, if you will answer mine. No more delay, and no more obfuscation:

Who is to make the laws we live under, if not the majority?

The Grand Council of Wise Leaders Who Know Better Than the Unwashed Masses?

The Imperial Klud?

You?


Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 8, 2012 5:09:53 PM

For Mr B.O.
Torture is strictly forbidden by International Law: Article 5 of the Universal Declaration, Article 7 of the ICCPR, the Geneva Conventions and the UN Convention against Torture . United States are part of the treaty and the convention, nevertheless used, legalized, justified torture and other “camorristic” crimes. Did US had any “democratic” explanation for this. NO! They had the The Grand Council of Wise Leaders Who Know Better Than the Unwashed Masses. The Imperial Klud.

Posted by: Claudio Giusti | Jul 8, 2012 5:36:45 PM

Claudio --

You continue to use this juvenile BO business and, while demanding answers to your questions, refuse, now for the fourth time, to answer mine.

Enjoy your country's impending and well-deserved bankruptcy -- and other than that, bye-bye!

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jul 8, 2012 7:39:59 PM

hmm might want to watch out here bill!

"Second, I would not accept slavery if the majority of the citizens want it because, as I have said maybe a hundred times, democratic rule must be within Constitutional bounds. So that's it for slavery. The death penalty, howeever, IS within Constitutional bounds, as the Supreme Court has repeatedly held."

Not sure about you but last time i looked at the constuiton it id in FACT mention slavery as legal hell it even setup the proper method to COUNT them when setting up representation in the congress.

I have NEVER seen anything even close to a CONSTUTIONAL AMENDMENT that bans slavery in the united states.

just some mealy mouth papers from one president and a court order ....which anyone knows can be OVERTURNED anytime by the same court at anytime once new bodies are on it!


sorry bill but in this case claudio is right WE have violated any number of the un treatries we have signed. But why is anyone suprised out of 2,000 plus treaties with the native american tribes who where here first. we have manged to violate EACH and EVERY ONE!

why would anyone think the UN would not get the same treatment.


or like the old saying a crook is a crook just like a LIER is a LIER!

what is it eeryone says about ex cons...by their history will you know them. nevermind what they have done recently...nope you will judge them based on what they did 10-20-30 years before.

Well guess what based on that policy the United States Of American is a lieing crooked criminal govt and has been almost from the beginning!

Posted by: rodsmith | Jul 9, 2012 2:17:04 AM

Since you didn't answer, I'll ask again:

Who is to make the laws we live under, if not the majority?

The Grand Council of Wise Leaders Who Know Better Than the Unwashed Masses?

The Imperial Klud?

You?
rent in london

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