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19.03.2008

Minimal support for reinstating the death penalty in Ukraine

   

The Verkhovna Rada has not supported the Communist Party initiative to reintroduce the death penalty. The bill was rejected at its first reading, with only 49 votes in favour.

The bill’s author Petro Symonenko (leader of the Communist faction) had stressed that the death penalty was envisaged only for premeditated murder with aggravating circumstances.

He proposed examining prosecution cases for murder with a jury, and in order to avoid judicial error with a stay of execution for six months.

At present until Article 115 of the Criminal Code, murder is punishable by imprisonment for terms from 7 to 15 years.

It should be noted that in a Judgment from 29 December 1999, Ukraine’s Constitutional Court declared the death penalty to be in contravention of the Constitution of Ukraine

In its report on Ukraine’s Honouring of its obligations and commitments, presented on 14 March, the PACE co-rapporteurs on Ukraine Hanne Severinsen and Renata Wohlwend expressed concern over this draft law, introduced in November 2007 by representatives of the Communist Party Petro Symonenko and Oleksandr Golub.

The subject raises its ugly head from time to time, but Wednesday’s result in parliament gives a clear idea of where Ukraine stands on this issue.

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