Summary: 27 January 2012, Brussels - Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the Commission, issued the following statement today on the increasing use of the death penalty in Iraq:
"I am concernedabout the increasing use of the death penalty in Iraq. The increase in executions in the last months clearly goes against the worldwide trend towards the abolition of the death penalty, as exemplified by the increasing support to the UN General Assembly Resolutions, calling for a moratorium on the use of the death penalty.
Iraq is aware of the EU's strong and principled position against the death penalty. The EU calls again on Iraq to cease carrying out executions and to introduce a moratorium on the use of the death penalty, with a view to its abolition.
Pending the introduction of a moratorium, the EU reiterates its call on Iraq to adhere to minimum international standards for the use of the death penalty. The death penalty should only be imposed for the most serious crimes, and in the case of clear and compelling evidence. It should never be used in cases where convictions were based on confessions that may have been coerced, and an effective right to appeal must be ensured."