16 March 2017 :
The Abolitionist of the Year 2006 Award, promoted by Hands Off Cain in recognition of outstanding commitment in favour of a moratorium on executions and the abolition of the death penalty, is dedicated to the President of Mexico Vicente Fox Quesada, who is also the author of the foreword to the 2006 Hands Off Cain Report, edited by Elisabetta Zamparutti and published by Marsilio.
On November 8, 2005, reforms were approved abolishing capital punishment from Mexico’s Constitution. The modifications regarded articles 14 and 22 of the Constitution eliminating the possibility of passing death sentences for crimes which had previously envisaged capital punishment. The changes followed those made a few months before on April 21, 2005, when the plenary assembly of the Chamber of Deputies ratified amendments to the Military Code of Justice previously approved by the Senate in April 2004. The reforms to the Military Code wanted by the government of Vicente Fox and by the higher echelons of the military, replaced capital punishment with between 30 and 60 years imprisonment.
President Vicente Fox Quesada’s efforts were not only limited to fighting the death penalty within his country’s borders. To defend its own citizens sentenced to death in the Unites States, the Mexican government went to the International Court of Justice in 2003 and on March 31, 2004, obtained a ruling ordering the United States to review the cases of 51 Mexican citizens locked up on death rows in ten of its states. The outcome of the ruling on consular rights not only affects Mexican citizens but will definitely have an effect the rights of all foreign nationals on death row in the United States. On November 28, 2005, Mexico became the 100th country to ratify the statute of the International Criminal Court which excludes all recourse to the death penalty, even for crimes against humanity.
The work of bronze, created by the artist Massimo Liberti for the Abolitionist of the Year Award, represents the earth on which are sitting children attempting to fly higher in order to look afar.