Resolution 1187 (1999)1
Europe: a death penalty-free continent
(Extract from the Official Gazette of the Council of Europe
1. The Assembly, referring to its Resolutions 1044 (1994) and 1097 (1996), reaffirms
its belief that the application of the death penalty constitutes inhuman and degrading
punishment and a violation of the most fundamental human right, that to life itself. It
reiterates its firm conviction that capital punishment therefore has no place in
civilised, democratic societies governed by the rule of law.
2. The Assembly is heartened by the fact that the number of executions in Council of
Europe member states is steadily diminishing from eighteen in 1997 (of which
thirteen took place in Ukraine and five in the Russian Federation (Chechnya)) to a single
one in 1998 (in the Russian Federation (Chechnya)).
3. The Assembly is similarly encouraged by recent positive developments in several
member states. It is pleased that, following ratification by Belgium, Greece, Latvia and
the United Kingdom, thirty-two member states have ratified Protocol No. 6. Also, since the
signature of Protocol No. 6 by Bulgaria, Cyprus and Lithuania, only four member states are
not signatories of the protocol, namely, Albania, Georgia, Poland and Turkey. Further, it
congratulates Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Georgia, Lithuania, Poland and the United Kingdom
on their total abolition in domestic law of the death penalty and it regrets that four
member states Albania, the Russian Federation, Turkey and Ukraine still
maintain the death penalty on their statute books.
4. However, the Assembly is concerned that three member states, namely Albania, the
Russian Federation and Ukraine, still maintain prisoners on death row in violation of
their commitment to abolish the death penalty within a certain delay following accession
to the Council of Europe.
5. In particular, the Assembly condemns, and in the strongest possible terms, the
executions that have taken place in Chechnya as a consequence of a fundamentalist
interpretation of the Sharia. It calls on the responsible authorities to fully respect the
moratorium on executions instituted by the Russian Federation.
6. These member states must realise that the Assembly is unwilling to reconsider their
commitments with regard to the abolition of the death penalty. On the contrary, the
Assembly will use all means at its disposal to ensure that commitments freely entered into
7. It thus asks Albania, the Russian Federation and Ukraine that they ratify Protocol
No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights, under no circumstances whatsoever carry
out any executions, and commute the sentence of all those condemned to death as soon as
the death penalty is abolished. It acknowledges the efforts of the members of the Latvian
Parliament in this respect and urges them to pursue total abolition.
8. Moreover, it urges all member states of the Council of Europe which have not yet
done so, to sign and/or ratify Protocol No. 6 to the European Convention on Human Rights,
in order that Europe may enter the third millennium as an execution and death
penalty free zone.
9. Finally, the Assembly decides and calls on the whole of the Council of
Europe, including the Committee of Ministers to do likewise to offer full
assistance to member states experiencing difficulties in abolishing the death penalty, in
particular by disseminating information and by organising awareness-raising seminars aimed
at assuring support from governmental and non-governmental circles.
1. Text adopted by the Standing Committee, acting on behalf of the
Assembly, on 26 May 1999.
See Doc. 8340, report of the Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, rapporteur: