General Motion of the VI Congress of Hands off Cain

16 May 2017 :

The General Motion of the Sixth Congress of Hands Off Cain, Opera (Milan), 18 and 19 December 2015.

The 6th Congress of Hands Off Cain, held Inside the Opera Prison, Milan, on December 18 and 19, 2015, notes with satisfaction that the new Resolution of the United Nations General Assembly on the moratorium on the death penalty with a view on abolition, approved on 18 December 2014, was adopted with a record number of 117 votes in favor (6 more than the 2012 resolution) and the lowest number of votes against (38, 3 less than 2012), while abstaining (34, as in 2012) and absent at the time of voting (4, 3 less than 2012) have been overall 38.

Noteworthy were the co-sponsorship for the first time of Sierra Leone and, in particular, the Niger vote for the first time in favor, a result of a mission in the country that Hands Off Cain and the Radical Party held from 19 to 21 November. Along with Niger, for the first time, in favor voted also Eritrea, Fiji, Equatorial Guinea and Suriname, who abstained or were absent in 2012. As well, voted in favor Kiribati and São Tomé and Principe, absent at the time of voting in 2012. As a further positive fact, it is also worth noting the passage from the vote against to the abstention of: Bahrain, Myanmar, Tonga and Uganda.

Commits the governing bodies, in view of the UN General Assembly of 2016, to intensify lobbying efforts to obtain further support for the new pro-moratorium resolution and to strengthen its text with the explicit request addressed to the UN Secretary-General to establish the figure of a Special Envoy whose task is to overcome the "state secrets" on the death penalty and continue to persuade those still practicing to adopt the United Nations line.

To this end, it also commits the governing bodies to promote an extraordinary fundraising campaign for 2016-2017 through self-financing and presentation of projects to foundations and governments to support initiatives in those countries, starting from Africa, that in recent years have made significant steps towards the abolition of the death penalty, and in those countries that in the last year have taken steps back on the path of abolition.

Adopts the goals of the project submitted by Hands Off Cain to the European Commission entitled "Containing the death penalty in times of war on terrorism" and that of the Radical Party entitled "State of Emergency? Rule of Law!", even more necessary and urgent as a result of the tragic events in Paris and of the reactions that are coming in terms of state of emergency and the fight against terrorism with even death penalty demands.

In particular, HOC supports: the ongoing campaign coordinated by Matteo Angioli for the Italian state to lead, at the UN level and not only, the transition to the Rule of Law and the Right to Knowledge as the only concrete and lasting alternative to emergentist and securitary logics;

The ongoing nonviolent action, led by Radical leaders and militants, of dialogue and support to the highest authorities of the Italian State, for the official announcement of the commitment to return, in a time given, to constitutional, national, European and international legality, from the cessation of violations to the European Convention on Human Rights and Community Law;

The urgent request to obtain from the public and private radio and television broadcast an adequate information and knowledge space for the Italian people with debates, which have been denied today, between various policy options on major issues of international peace and security and the state of Justice and Law in our country.

HOC welcomes the birth of the new project of the newspaper "The doubt" published by the National Forensic Council and directed by Piero Sansonetti, announced in the Congress of HOC.

It makes proper and relaunches the objectives that Pope Francesco has rendered explicit the 23 October of 2014 in his Discourse of extraordinary humanistic, political and juridical value, addressed to the delegates of the International Criminal Justice Association and in which, amongst other things, defined life in prison as "a hidden death penalty", that should be abolished, along with capital punishment, and considered isolation in the so-called "maximum security prisons" as "a form of torture".

It commits the governing bodies of the Association to promote - in conjunction with the Radical Committee for Justice Pietro Calamandrei, experts and jurists from the academic and forensic world - recourse at international level, in particular to the United Nations Human Rights Committee, to the European Court of Justice of Human Rights and, in Italy, to the Constitutional Court, appeals to overcome cruel and anachronistic treatments such as the regime referred to in Article 41-bis and the so called “ergastolo ostativo” (the name given to the life without parole sentence in our country), that, due to specific arrangements and excessive duration of application, cause - as widely demonstrated by scientific literature as well as numerous cases – create irreversible damage to the detainee's physical and mental health, such as to form the case of inhuman and degrading punishments.

To this end, it invites to use the volume of Carmelo Musumeci and Andrea Pugiotto, “Gli ergastolani senza scampo. Fenomenologia e criticità costituzionali dell'ergastolo ostativo” (Lifers without a chance. Phenomenology and constitutional criteria of life without parole)"as a working tool for the processing of appeals targeted at the Constitutional Court and the EDU Court, and supports the European Research Project  “The Right to Hope”.