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The EU and Controlling the Use of the Death Penalty: An Organising Principle for Which Fundamental Norm?

  • Robert KissackEmail author
Chapter
Part of the Norm Research in International Relations book series (NOREINRE)

Abstract

The abolition of the death penalty has been an important foreign policy objective of the European Union for over a decade and it claims to be ‘the leading institutional actor in the fight against the death penalty worldwide’ (EEAS, 2013: 2). The EU has played a prominent role in efforts since 2008 to pass resolutions in the United Nations General Assembly Third Committee calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty. This chapter examines the contestation that has taken place regarding controlling the use of the death penalty, and whether it is an organising principle of the fundamental norm of the right to life or alternatively, non-intervention in the domestic affairs of sovereign states. Following the common framework of the book, the chapter identifies four modes of contestation used by retentionist and abolitionist states alike and establishes when and where (either the UNGA or Human Rights Council) they are used to support each sides’ claims that controlling the use of the death penalty is a type-2 norm for their respective type-1 fundamental norms. The chapter concludes that the majority position—that it is an organising principle associated with the right to life—is pervasive, thus reflecting the EU’s preferred normative stance. However, in recent years, an acknowledgement that non-intervention cannot be ignored has become more pronounced.

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut Barcelona d’Estudis Internacionals (IBEI)BarcelonaSpain

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