Thursday, 19 November 2009

Australia acts to outlaw death penalty

Media release from Robert McClelland, Attorney-General of Australia
19 November 2009


Attorney-General Robert McClelland today introduced the Crimes Legislation Amendment (Torture Prohibition and Death Penalty Abolition) Bill 2009.

The Bill implements a specific Commonwealth offence of torture into the Commonwealth Criminal Code.

The new offence will operate concurrently with existing offences in State and Territory laws.

"Introducing a specific Commonwealth offence of torture will more clearly fulfil Australia's obligations under the United Nations Convention Against Torture to ban all acts of torture, wherever they occur," Mr McClelland said.

The Bill also amends the Commonwealth Death Penalty Abolition Act 1973 to extend the application of the current prohibition on the death penalty to State laws, to ensure the death penalty cannot be introduced anywhere in Australia.

The Bill was developed in consultation with the States and Territories.

Amending the Death Penalty Abolition Act 1973 to cover State laws will safeguard Australia's ongoing compliance with the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights aiming at the Abolition of the Death Penalty.

"It will ensure the death penalty cannot be reintroduced anywhere in Australia in the future," Mr McClelland said.

"The purpose of these amendments is to ensure that Australia complies fully with its international obligations to combat torture and to demonstrate our commitment to the worldwide movement for the abolition of the death penalty."

"Taking these steps demonstrates our fundamental opposition to acts that are contrary to basic human values."

No comments: