Australian Lefty on Politics, Governance, Science and Info Management

Archive for July 4th, 2007

Fundamental Rights: EU: Article 2: Right to life

Posted by Dave Bath on 2007-07-04

This is the second in a series of posts that will explore issues from the Charter of Fundamental Rights in the draft EU constitution (see official PDF or my reworking into HTML).

The first chapter of the charter concerns dignity.

Article 2: Right to life

  1. Everyone has the right to life.
  2. No one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed.

This is fairly straightforward.  The only real subtlety is the second part, which implies that receiving the death penalty (even if it is not carried out) is a violation of the charter, presumably because of the psychological impact of receiving such a sentence.

Another implication is the prohibition from extraditing someone who faces a capital charge, even where there is a promise from the nation holding the trial that any death sentence will be commuted.

If such rights existed in Australia, the Australian Federal Police handling of the Bali Nine case, causing arrests within Indonesia rather than arresting the drug mules on their return to Australia, would be unlawful.

As stated in the first post in this series, I welcome debate with each post as to whether or not the associated article in the draft EU Charter is worthwhile and should be included in an Australian Charter of Fundamental Rights, but would be very interested to get a comment if you think the article should not be considered a fundamental right.

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