ECPM statement to the UN on the situation of the 11 French nationals recently sentenced to death in Iraq
18 July 2019
On the occasion of the 41st session of the Human Rights Council, ECPM, represented by Taimoor Aliassi, intervened on 3 July 2019 during the general debate on item 4 (Human Rights situations requiring the Council's attention), in order to draw the Council's attention to the death sentences and executions in Iraq for belonging to the Islamic State and in particular to the situation of the 11 French nationals recently sentenced to death and the French authorities' ambiguous response. Below, the statement.
COMPREHENSIVE DECLARATION AGAINST THE DEATH PENALTY (ECPM)
41ST SESSION OF THE HUMAN RIGHTS COUNCIL - GENERAL DEBATE ON ITEM 4 - 3 JULY 2019
ECPM would like to draw the Council's attention to the death sentences and executions in Iraq for belonging to the Islamic State and in particular to the situation of the 11 French nationals recently sentenced to death and the ambiguous response of the French authorities.
ECPM is absolutely opposed to the death penalty for all crimes and in all circumstances. This position of principle is also supposed to be that of France, the European Union and all its Member States.
The Iraqi state is one of the most executed in the world with more than 177 executions in the last two years. Iraqi law provides for the death penalty for anyone found guilty of belonging to a "terrorist" organization, whether or not the accused has fought.
The Iraqi prison and judicial systems have extremely serious shortcomings that make it impossible to ensure fair trials. Confessions obtained under torture, public defenders who sometimes plead against their clients, hasty trials are violations of international law.
However, France has accepted the trial of its nationals on Iraqi soil even though it was competent to try them and extradition to countries that carry out the death penalty is not in line with its international commitments.
In the face of criticism, the French authorities intervene at the highest level and promote consular protection. However, the limited information provided to French families and lawyers indicates that consular support is insufficient.
While the French authorities have announced that other French nationals will be transferred to and tried in Iraq, they should:
clearly state their opposition at all times and in all circumstances to the death penalty;
ensure equal and high quality consular protection for all their nationals detained abroad, regardless of any crime they may have committed;
request the repatriation of all French nationals to Iraq and Syria for trial in France;
to do everything in its power to ensure that the death penalty is not carried out.
We call on each Member State of the European Union to do the same with their nationals.
Because, as Robert Badinter, who abolished the death penalty in France in 1981, said, "Using the death penalty against terrorists is, for a democracy, making their values its own".