Life imprisonment as an alternative to the death penalty in Europe from the point of view of human rights"


Question Description

Life imprisonment as alternative to death penalty in Europe from the point of view of Human Rights

Support material:

Reference to ECtHR judgments, particularly in the cases:

Iorgov (no. 2) v. Bulgaria, 2 September 2010 (judgment)

Vinter and Others v. the United Kingdom, 9 July 2013 (Grand Chamber – judgment)

Harakchiev and Tolumov v. Bulgaria, 8 July 2014 (judgment)


Volume: 6-8 pages (12000-14000 characters)

Tutor Answer

School: University of Maryland

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Life Imprisonment and Death Penalty
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Death penalty and life imprisonment have been a controversial issue in the past, and still,
it is today. The death penalty can be defined as the penalty of death for a crime one has
committed. Many people feel that the death penalty should be abolished as they see it as a cruel
penalty. Others also feel that life imprisonment is also a harsh punishment. Each of these groups
gives many reasons as to why they believe so. The death penalty is whereby a person is
sentenced to death upon passing a judicial process for crimes like murder or other cases where a
person is found guilty after a court hearing. A life imprisoned person, however, is less cruel
penalty compared to the death penalty. A person serving a life imprisonment sentence has a
chance to enjoy parts of their lives and also keep in touch with their family members. A person
in prison also has an opportunity to get to know what they did wrong and therefore, a chance to
change. The death penalty is not new since it has been used in most parts of the world. During
the American Revolution, the death penalty was used in all the 13 colonies (Gerards, 2014). The
only colony that had the least crimes punishable by death was Rhode Island, and it turned out to
be the first to outlaw the death penalty for any crimes (Ichim, 2015). The death penalty had been
turned from hangings to private exactions.
Death penalty and life imprisonment in Europe
The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe requires that any nations entering
into this organization to show their commitment to the abolishment of the death penalty (Ichim,
2015). In the non-member states of the European Union, the organization is still pushing for the
deletion. The Commission on Human Rights of the United Nations (UN) is also pushing for the
abolition of the death penalty by encouraging members to establish a moratorium on executions.



Restriction of the death penalty through international standards in Europe
The standards of the International Human rights have established more restrictions on the
scope of the death penalty. In 1971, the UN General Assembly stated that to for a person to enjoy
the right to live as per the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 3, their main goal
would be to restrict the number of offenses punishable by death penalty aiming at eliminating
this punishment in all nations. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights in Article
6(2) requires that death sentences be imposed for only the most severe...

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