jueves, 22 de septiembre de 2011

Death penalty

There’s a common misunderstanding about the death penalty. Many say that is wrong because it may affect innocent people. Based on this premise, many support the convicted based on their innocence and claim for mercy. That’s right, that’s a very strong point: killing an innocent person is nonsense from every point of view, but this point still may let strong the support for death penalty when it affects proven criminals.

Why is the death penalty absolute wrong either case? From a libertarian point of view, which is clearly related to the Human Rights theory and the right to self-determination of every human being, there’s something clearly wrong about the death penalty itself: it assumes that someone, call it State, call it Government, call it official has enough authority to decide whether someone has to die or not for different reasons. And that’s the key mistake: no one can decide that, that cannot be legal in a democratic rule of law that respects human rights because every human being has the right to live no matter what he or she has done, no matter if he or she is a psychopath, a mass murderer or a criminal against humanity. It may sound odd to some that I’m saying this but this is the basics of the European system I’m so proud of. Europe relies on the best system of protection of human rights, with our domestic fundamental rights, our European Convention of Human Rights and its European Court of Human Rights. And it is a system that has been working fine so far proving to be capable of protecting European citizens from their own States’ abuses. The death penalty has been banned in Europe for decades and so have been torture and State terrorism.

Unfortunately, this is something that cannot be said of many other countries in the world, including the US. And this is what happens when you think that someone may have authority to take away the rights of others for whatever reason, when the limits are unclear and the aims may justify the means: Troy Davis was executed last night, the Guantanamo Concentration Camp is still open, people responsible for acts of torture, including those politically responsible have not been judged and sent to prison. Coming from a so called democracy, this is even more shameful, a stain for the Western world that should be internationally condemned and, if the international law really worked, internationally prosecuted. I’m afraid nothing of this will happen. At least, people around the world can show their outrage. So I join them.