EUROPEAN UNION: Declaration by the EU Presidency on behalf of the EU concerning the resumption of executions in the USA
On 2 May 2008 the Ambassadors of the European Union in Washington appealed to the relevant authorities in the State of Georgia to spare the life of Mr. William Lynd. Most regrettably, clemency appeals in the case of Mr. Lynd were denied and a subsequent appeal hearing before the Georgia Supreme Court also proved unsuccessful.
The European Union deeply regrets that Mr. William Lynd was executed in the State of Georgia on 6 May 2008.
This execution breaks a de facto moratorium that has been in place across the United States while the United States Supreme Court was hearing the Baze v. Rees case. The United States Supreme Court ruling of 16 April 2008 in Mr. Baze's case, allowed for the continued use of lethal injection as practiced by the State of Kentucky.
The EU again reiterates its longstanding position against the death penalty in all circumstances and accordingly strives to achieve its universal abolition, seeking a global moratorium on the death penalty as the first step. We believe that the elimination of the death penalty is fundamental to the protection of human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights.
The EU recalls that on 18 December 2007, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution on a Moratorium on the use of the death penalty, which explicitly calls upon all States that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium on executions with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
The EU notes that any miscarriage or failure of justice in the application of the death penalty represents an irreparable and irreversible loss of human life. No legal system is immune from mistakes and there is no reliable evidence that the death penalty provides added value in terms of deterrence.
In light of this most regrettable resumption in the use of the death penalty in the United States, with the execution of Mr. Lynd in the State of Georgia, the European Union urges the immediate re-establishment of a de facto moratorium on the use of the death penalty across the entire United States, with a view to abolishing the death penalty.
The Candidate Countries Turkey and Croatia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Serbia, and the EFTA countries Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, members of the European Economic Area, as well as the Republic of Moldova, Armenia and Azerbaijan align themselves with this declaration.
* Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.