UN: REPORT SAYS DEATH PENALTY SHOULD BE BANNED UNDER TORTURE CONVENTIONS
October 23, 2012: Countries around the world are increasingly viewing capital punishment as a form of torture because it inflicts severe mental and physical pain on those sentenced to death, a U.N. torture investigator said.
Traditionally, countries have considered the legality of capital punishment with respect to the right to life guaranteed under international law, U.N. special rapporteur on torture Juan Mendez told the U.N. General Assembly's human rights committee.
"My analysis of regional and national jurisprudence identifies a momentum towards redefining the legality of capital punishment," Mendez said.
"States need to re-examine their procedures under international law because the ability of states to impose and carry out the death penalty is diminishing as these practices are increasingly viewed to constitute torture," he said.
Â He said that there was no such thing as a pain-free form of execution, which makes it difficult to reject the idea that it is a form of torture.
"Methods of execution cannot be discounted as being completely painless," he told reporters after addressing the General Assembly's Third Committee.
He urged all countries to consider abolishing capital punishment because it is "cumbersome and expensive and you're never sure you're doing it in the right way." He added that its deterrent value was questionable.
Mendez spoke about what he called the "death row phenomenon," circumstances that cause severe mental anguish and physical suffering among prisoners serving death sentences.
Such suffering, he said, includes uncertainty and anxiety caused by the imminent threat of execution, extended solitary confinement, poor prison conditions and a lack of recreational or educational possibilities. (Sources: Reuters, 23/10/2012)