General Rapporteur welcomes Colorado’s decision to abolish the death penalty

Titus Corlatean (Romania, SOC), General Rapporteur of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) on the abolition of the death penalty, has welcomed the decision of the State of Colorado (United States) to abolish the death penalty in the state and to commute the sentences of persons on death row to life sentences.

“This decision of the State of Colorado, which used the death penalty only seldomly, shows their determination to combat this cruel and inhuman sentence and to pursue the growing abolitionist trend. Colorado has thus joined the 21 states in the US which have abolished the death penalty de jure and 12 others which have not applied it in the last ten years or more,” he said.

“The death penalty is always a cruel and inhuman punishment, whatever the crime, and it should no longer be applied in democratic states that respect human rights. I call on the United States, an observer state at the Council of Europe, to reassess at political level the possibility of doing away entirely with this sentence, in order to abolish it de jure or de facto at federal level and in those states where it is still applied, or whose law still permits its use,” he added.

“Such an approach would be in line with our shared values, as spelled out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and international treaties,” the rapporteur concluded.

***

On Monday, the Governor of Colorado, Mr Jared S. Polis, signed a repeal law, which had passed the Colorado Senate in January and the House of Representatives in February. He also commuted the sentences of three men still on death row to life in prison without the possibility of parole.