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OSCE, Permanent Council No 549: EU Statemnt on the death penalty in the USA

Date of Speech : 07-04-2005

Place : Vienna

Speaker : Jacques Reuter, permanent representative of Luxembourg to the OSCE

Policy area : General Affairs and External Relations

The European Union is firmly opposed to the death penalty in all circumstances. The EU has on several occasions explained in detail its position regarding the death penalty with particular respect to recent cases concerning mentally ill persons in the United States. Let me refer in particular to our interventions in the Permanent Council on 29 July last year and the Human Dimension Implementation Meeting in Warsaw in October last year. We are firmly convinced that the execution of persons suffering from mental disorder is contrary to widely accepted human rights norms.

While welcoming positive developments regarding the death penalty in the USA, in particular in the area of juvenile death penalty with the decision of the US Supreme Court on 1 March this year, the EU wishes to express its concern at yet another case within the area of mental disorder. Mr Bill Benefiel is due to be executed in the State of Indiana on 21 April this year in spite of a long history of severe mental illness. He has been diagnosed with schizotypal personality disorder and has undergone a number of evaluations prior to his arrest for capital murder. We appeal to the appropriate authorities in the State of Indiana to grant Mr Benefiel relief from his death penalty. We expect that these authorities will be informed of this appeal.

The Candidate Countries Bulgaria, Romania, Turkey and Croatia1 align themselves with this statement.

1Croatia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process

This page was last modified on : 09-04-2005

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