The ongoing wave of international terrorism, which culminated with the attacks that in recent months have resulted in a high death toll, triggers emotional responses that can be manipulated by those who aim at establishing authoritarian, autocratic, and despotic regimes.
Among these emotional reactions, because of the sense of vengeance that is often present in both individual and collective psychology, from time to time the call for the reinstatement of the death penalty resurfaces, even where capital punishment has already been abolished.
Recent developments in Turkey, particularly the July 15 attempted coup d’état, have generated a violent response by the authorities, who declared that the government will in no way oppose to a Parliament’s pronouncement in favor of the reinstatement of capital punishment if that were to reflect the popular will.
The death penalty does not stop those who are determined to die for terrorist ideologies but it is a very useful tool, like torture, for those who want to establish or maintain despotic, autocratic regimes.
Keeping into account that
A moratorium on the death penalty does not stop those who want to promote the reinstatement of capital punishment in legal systems that have already abolished it as a tool for an authoritarian or totalitarian change.
That the reinstatement of the death penalty in Turkey would be incompatible with its international obligations, particularly under Additional Protocols No. 6 and 13 of the European Convention on Human Rights, the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the Universal Declaration on Human Rights; the reinstatement of the death penalty would be also incompatible with European Union membership and would be an insurmountable obstacle towards Turkey’s process of joining the European Union.
To continue to actively promote, along with its member organizations, the campaign conducted by the World Coalition Against the Death Penalty among United Nations’ member states and mobilize on October 10, on the occasion of the World Day Against the Death Penalty, whose theme will be the use of the death penalty to punish terrorist-related crimes.
Turkey to ensure that any response to terrorist threats is inspired by the principles of respect of the rule of law and human rights that the country has committed to respect and promote at the international level; urges in particular the Turkish authorities to refrain from reintroduce the death penalty, which would be a clear violation of Turkey’s international obligations;
all retentionist countries, especially those in which a high number of executions continues to be recorded, to commit to promptly abolish the death penalty and to not invoke the fight against terrorism as a pretext to extend its use, particularly because criminal law does not clearly define the concept of terrorism, which would pave the way to manipulations; abolishing the death penalty would be a coherent choice that reflects the general global trend towards abolition, as shown by the adoption of United Nations General Assembly resolution A/RES/69/186 on a moratorium on the use of the death penalty by a large majority in December 2014.