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Death Penalty Information

Monday, December 11, 2006

Russia: moratorium on death penalty extended
Russian lawmakers move to extend moratorium on death penalty

Parliament on Friday extended a 10-year moratorium on the death penalty to
2010, an extension of e years, by delaying the introduction of juries in
court cases in the rebellious republic of Chechnya.
Some Western governments and domestic opponents of capital punishment have
pressed President Vladimir Putin to scrap it for good. But he is also
under pressure from conservatives at home who will probably use the issue
in campaigning for parliamentary elections next year.
The State Duma passed a bill under which juries will replace 3-judge
panels in Chechnya in 2010, rather than in 2007 as had been planned.
Russia, which still has capital punishment in its criminal code, has
observed a moratorium on carrying out death sentences since 1996.
Three years later the Constitutional Court ruled that no court could
sentence criminals to death until all courts had switched to jury trials.
Chechnya is the last region with no juries because of "technical
problems," officials said.
"The introduction of the new law means that, for another three years,
courts will not have the right to impose death sentences," a senior
Communist Party deputy, Viktor Ilyukhin, said after the Duma vote.
The bill has yet to be considered by the Federation Council and signed
into law by Putin, but analysts said it would probably pass those stages
Russia committed itself to scrapping the death penalty in 1997, when it
signed a protocol to the European Convention on Human Rights. But it has
never ratified the document, citing strong opposition at home.
(source: International Herald Tribune)
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