Thank you, Mr. Chairperson,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I wish to thank the organizers of this event, which focuses on one of the most sensitive aspects of the death penalty. I refer to the implementation of effective drug policies without inflicting capital punishment on offenders. This is a critical issue because drug-related crimes account for the majority of capital sentences and for a large number of executions worldwide.
We have just heard alarming data on the increase in executions in the world. In a period when terrorism is on the rise and security threats are growing, some Countries have recently implemented tougher penalties, including capital punishment. In some cases it is even being applied to drug-related offences, although at the international level they are not considered the most serious crimes. But they are part of a broader dire picture.
Italy has gone through dark periods in its history, particularly in the 1970s and ‘80s, when we were fighting high crime rates, terrorism and organized crime. As a result of this terrible experience, we believe we have gained an understanding of situations that otherwise provoke shock and dismay.
Our response to these dire threats was true to our Constitution, which rejects the death penalty, and adopted a wider approach based on penalties proportionate to the crime and the implementation of every instrument available for the rehabilitation and social reintegration of convicted persons.
This is not to say that we have the solution. We know there is no “one size fits all” solution, and that different national contexts can be challenging and unique. This is the precise reason why Italy advocated a flexible, dialogue-based approach at the UN, which enabled the first resolution ever on a Moratorium on the use of the Death Penalty to be adopted by the General Assembly in 2007.
In view of the upcoming new resolution on the moratorium at the 71st UNGA, our firm belief continues to be that the path toward a world free of the death penalty requires dialogue, cooperation, understanding, and inclusiveness, an atmosphere in which each and every Country is welcome to contribute, at its own pace, toward achieving the common goal of a world without the death penalty. We are convinced that this goal is possible, and that drug-related crimes are the first we should consider in joining forces to focus on prevention rather than punishment.
We should promote awareness-raising campaigns, and encourage in particular country-led public debates and initiatives that may lead to a move away from the death penalty.
With this goal in mind, Italy is ready to listen and to share experiences, best practices and lessons learnt, and is keen to benefit from cooperation and contributions from all willing Countries.