Statement by Alain Juppé
(October 10, 2011)
Today, 10th October, we are celebrating the 9th World day against the death penalty officially recognised by the Council of Europe and the European Union in 2007.
The death penalty is not justice, but rather bears witness to the failure of justice. It serves no useful purpose in combating criminality. The loss of life that it induces is irreparable, and no legal system is safe from the risk of an error of justice.
It is now thirty years since France banished this cruel, inhuman practice. Since then, it has not ceased to employ its best endeavours to abolish the death penalty once and for all and on a universal basis.
Much ground has been covered in the meantime. So far, one hundred and thirty nine countries have adopted an abolitionist legal position or a de facto moratorium. The majority of UN member states have discarded this form of punishment and further progress continues to be made.
To me, this is evidence of veritable awareness on a world-wide scale, and reaffirmation of the universal nature of Human Rights.
But I cannot lose sight of the fact, despite the progress achieved, that the struggle for universal abolition must be continued on all the continents of the world.
I applaud the determined efforts of the defenders of Human Rights and the NGOs, the involvement of which is essential in the combat in which we are together engaged.