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MOTION FOR A RESOLUTION on South Korea - death penalty declared legal


with request for inclusion in the agenda for the debate on cases of breaches of human rights, democracy and the rule of law
pursuant to Rule 122 of the Rules of Procedure

Marielle De Sarnez on behalf of the ALDE Group

See also joint motion for a resolution RC-B7-0191/2010

Postup : 2010/2603(RSP)
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European Parliament resolution on South Korea - death penalty declared legal

The European Parliament,

- Having regard to its previous resolutions on the abolition of the death penalty and the need for an immediate moratorium on executions in those countries where the death penalty is still imposed,


- Having regards to the UNGA resolution on the death penalty adopted on 18 December 2007 by the General Assembly (report of the Third Committee (A/62/439/Add.2) 62/149 - Moratorium on the use of the death penalty),


- Having regard to the updated and revised version of the EU Guidelines on the Death Penalty, adopted by the Council,


- Having regard to the final declaration adopted by the 4th World Congress against the Death Penalty in Geneva between 24-26 February, calling for a global abolition of death penalty,


- Having regard to the last South Korean Constitutional Court's decision to uphold the death penalty ,


- Having regard to Article 122 of its Rules of Procedure



A.  Whereas on 25 February 2010 the Constitutional Court of South Korea ruled in favour of capital punishment, reaffirming a 14-year ruling on the same theme


B.  Whereas the Constitutional Court's ruling was acquired by a vote of five in favour to four dissenting votes, whereas the result of the 1996 ruling was seven votes to two,


C.  Whereas the Constitutional Court's decision followed the petition of a 72 year old Korean man convicted of killing four tourists in 2007, who claimed that capital punishment infringed his constitutional guarantee of dignity, .


D.  Whereas the Republic of Korea has 57 prisoners with confirmed death sentences, with a further two sentences pending confirmation following appeal; whereas South Korea is de facto an "abolitionist" country where the last execution took place in 1997


E.  Whereas the Court has suggested that the Parliament is the appropriate forum in which to change or debate the subject; whereas the debate on the abolition of the death penalty has been ongoing for years;


F.  Whereas in 2005 the Justice and Legislation Committee of the South Korean Parliament began working on a draft law on the abolition of the death penalty which would be replaced by life imprisonment without the possibility of parole; whereas on 6 April 2005 the National Committee on Human Rights, a consultative body linked to the government, decided by 8 votes to 1 to express to the Parliament its favourable opinion on the abolition of capital punishment;


G.  Whereas a similar proposal was put forward during the two last mandates but was rejected by the Justice and Legislation Committee of the National Assembly;


H.  Whereas the number of countries that have enacted laws abolishing the death penalty is constantly increasing and these countries constitute the majority of the international community;


I.  Whereas, according to NGOs specialised in the subject, 96 countries have completely abolished the death penalty, 8 believe that it should be abolished for ordinary crimes, 43 are de facto abolished the death penalty, 5 are working on a moratorium of the death penalty and only 45 still maintain and practise it;


J.  Whereas, since 18 December 2007 and in 2008 the United Nations General Assembly approved by a large majority a resolution asking countries practising the death penalty to "establish a moratorium on executions with the aim of abolishing the death penalty";


K.  Whereas these decisions are an historic moment for the international community which clearly expressed its opposition to the death penalty; whereas the United Nations established that capital punishment relates to the right of the person and not to internal justice, and that this represents important progress for Human Rights;


1.  Expresses its support for the movements fighting for the abolition of the death penalty in South Korea


2.  Encourages the country to adopt a legal moratorium on all executions until the Parliament adopts a law in favour of a law abolishing the death penalty;


3.  Calls on the government of South Korea to support the United Nations resolution on the abolition of the death penalty, and to decide next autumn to co-sponsor or vote in favour of a resolution which will be presented at the General Assembly;


4.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the EU Member States, and the Government of the Republic of Korea and the National Human Rights Committee of Korea (NHRCK).