EC Project: Relevant legislation


Death row - cell

When dealing with the case of a client who is either a foreign national, or has significant ties to another country, there are some legal texts that could have a significant bearing on the case and may be worth consulting.

Particularly relevant examples include the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations 1963, under Article 36 of which local authorities must notify all detained foreigners "without delay" of their right to have their consulate informed of their detention and the American Bar Association Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases 2003, Guideline 10.6 of which outlines additional obligations of counsel representing a foreign national.

There are a range of other more general international legal instruments on the death penalty that can be invoked to strengthen arguments against a death sentence in a given case. Notable examples include:

• The American Convention on Human Rights (Article 4 Right to Life)

• General comment on Article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (UN Human Rights Committee 16th session on 27 July 1982)

• Safeguards Guaranteeing Protection of the Rights of Those Facing the Death Penalty (UN Economic and Social Council in resolution 1984/50 on 25 May 1984 and endorsed by the UN General Assembly in resolution 39/118)

• UN Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/59, adopted on 20 April 2005

• UN General Assembly Moratorium on the Death Penalty, (A/C.3/62/L.29) 1 November 2007

Also of particular importance are nationality laws, like those of Spain and several other European countries, which enable those with strong ties to European countries to be recognized as European nationals. The Spanish legislation is the most notable example of this kind of historical memory legislation.

Links

Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, 1963

ABA Guidelines for the Appointment and Performance of Defense Counsel in Death Penalty Cases.

Supplementary Guidelines For The Mitigation Function Of Defense Teams In Death Penalty Cases

American Convention on Human Rights

CCPR General Comment No. 6: The right to life

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Safeguards guaranteeing protection of the rights of those facing the death penalty

Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: The question of the death penalty

UN General Assembly Moratorium on the Death Penalty: A/RES/62/149 General Assembly Resolution 62/149

Historical memory legislation of Spain [in Spanish]

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