EU-Bush Summit, Goteborg: Tell the President: Stop Federal Executions, Support the International Criminal Court

Amnesty International says EU leaders must tell the US President he is on a collision course with Europe and much of the rest of the world, on key human rights issues such as the death penalty and the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

With Juan Raul Garza due to be executed under US federal government law next week*, Amnesty International calls on the Swedish Presidency of the EU to underline the EU’s strong opposition to the death penalty, as enshrined in the European Charter of Fundamental Rights (“no-one shall be condemned to the death penalty, or executed” – Art. 2)

The human rights organisation says EU leaders must also ensure that the US President is in no doubt about the EU’s newly-adopted Common Position on the International Criminal Court which puts the EU and the US in direct opposition to each other.  (The EU Council of Ministers this week adopted a Common Position not only supporting the establishment of an International Criminal Court, but deciding to promote its establishment worldwide).

“Given that the United States refuses to support the establishment of the International Criminal Court to bring the perpetrators of crimes against humanity to justice and may even actively campaign against it, the EU and the US are going down entirely different roads as far as fundamental human rights issues are concerned,” said the Director of Amnesty International’s EU Office, Dick Oosting. 

“EU leaders must not sweep these differences under the carpet when they hold talks with President Bush in Goteborg. European Union citizens care deeply about the abolition of the death penalty and bringing war criminals to justice.  This is an important opportunity to tell President Bush that any global partnership needs basic ground rules, in particular, a shared respect for fundamental human rights and international commitments,” said Dick Oosting.

Amnesty International demands that the Swedish Presidency of the EU call on the US President to:

  • order an immediate halt to federal executions;
  • end US opposition to the establishment of the International Criminal Court.

* Juan Raul Garza is due to be executed despite serious international concern over evidence in his 1993 trial and the disparities in US federal death sentencing patterns.

For further comment/background and interviews:

Amnesty International EU Office (Brussels):
Tel: 32-2-5021499
Fax: 32-2-5025686
Email: [email protected]