Cardinal calls for USA and China to abolish death penalty

Cardinal Renato Raffaele Martino, President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace has appealed for China and the USA to abolish the death penalty.

“We should make the United States and China abolish the death penalty. These two giants have a great international role.” Cardinal Martino told the Fourth International Congress of Ministers of Justice
sponsored by the Community of Sant’Egidio meeting in Rome on Monday.

More than 35 politicians and members of civil society – 15 of whom were Ministers of Justice, along with members of Parliament, Supreme Court justices, and prosecutors from 25 countries – met in Campidoglio to continue their path to a possible goal: the abolition of the death penalty.

Since the last Congress, in 2008, Uzbekistan, Burundi, Togo, Rwanda, and Gabon have abolished the capital punishment. “Wherever the death penalty is discussed, there I am, the Cardinal explained. I have spent 16 years in the United Nations as the Representative of the Holy See, and in all the initiatives aimed at abolishing the death penalty that have only recently taken effect, I have worked night and day.

"Of course, this initiative of Sant’Egidio is very important, as it continues to propose a culture of life versus a culture of death. There have been many important steps taken on the path of progress, such as the recent abolition of the death penalty by the American State of New Mexico, however we know that there are still many countries that use this crime. We should reach the point in which the death
penalty is abolished throughout the entire world, because it is a sign of incivility, as one crime cannot be punished with another crime.”

Mario Marazziti, of the Community of Sant’Egidio, highlighted that “this annual event allows us to see the situation of the countries that still have the death penalty and which do not. From that historical moment in December 2007, when the 62nd United Nations Assembly approved a text encouraging those countries that maintained the death penalty to ban executions, many steps forward have been taken. There are now 120 countries without the death penalty, de iure or de facto, but there are still many that use it.”

Nicola Mancino Vice, President of the Superior Council of the Magistrate, highlighted the role of Europe, especially that of Italy, in what he described as:"this path towards full civilization".

She said: “The battle against the death penalty is a struggle for civilization, the culture of life, and justice. Europe is the birthplace of civilization and life. The Treaty of Nice, that sanctioned the rights of European citizens, places the condition that in order to belong to the European Union, one should defend life and exclude the death penalty de iure and de facto. We are convinced that the death penalty, far from preventing crime, dehumanizes the civilization.” Also addressing the Congress was South African Justice Minister Jeffery Thamsanqua Radede, who highlighted that the Constitution of the new South Africa, after Apartheid, adopted the exclusion of the death penalty as part of basic rights protection. And this is proof that, amidst a culture deeply wounded by its history, only a spirit of reconciliation would be capable of guaranteeing a new society and new harmonious coexistence.

Source: Fides

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