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December 19 2009 | NEW YORK, UNITED STATES

European Union/U.S

European Union urges Louisiana: don't stop the moratorium. New, strong appeal against capital punishment

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European Union

EU statement in the OSCE on the Death Penalty in the USA

Statement on behalf of the European Union by H.E. Ms. Veronika Bard-Bringéus, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Sweden to the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe, at the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna, 17 December 2009.

It is with deep regret that the EU has learned that an execution is scheduled to be carried out in the State of Louisiana on 7 January 2010. The execution of Mr. Gerald Bordelon would break a de facto moratorium in the State of Louisiana, where the last execution took place in May 2002.

The European Union reiterates its longstanding position on the use of death penalty. We oppose the use of capital punishment in all cases and under all circumstances and have consistently called for its universal abolition. The EU recalls the resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 18 December 2008 that reaffirms its resolution adopted in December 2007, which expressly calls upon all states that still maintain the death penalty to establish a moratorium as a first step towards abolishing the death penalty.

The EU believes that the abolition of the death penalty is essential to protect human dignity, and to the progressive development of human rights. The EU considers this punishment cruel and inhuman. It has not been found to act as a deterrent, and while we are aware of the suffering of the victims of violent crime and their families, we recall that any miscarriage of justice - which is inevitable in any legal system - is irreversible. Consequently, the death penalty is abolished throughout the European Union.

Taking account of these factors, the EU calls upon the appropriate authorities in the State of Louisiana to continue the moratorium on executions and urges them to grant Mr. Gerald Bordelon relief from the death penalty.

The EU trusts that the government of the United States of America will ensure that the appropriate authorities in the State of Louisiana will be informed of this statement.

The candidate countries TURKEY, CROATIA* and the FORMER YUGOSLAV REPUBLIC OF MACEDONIA*, the countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidate countries ALBANIA, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA, MONTENEGRO and SERBIA, the European Free Trade Association countries and members of the European Economic Area ICELAND, LIECHTENSTEIN and NORWAY, as well as UKRAINE, the REPUBLIC OF MOLDOVA and AZERBAIJAN align themselves with this statement.

*Croatia and the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process.

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