MOSCOW, April 25 (Itar-Tass) – Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday he is against calling off the capital punishment moratorium.
“This issue has been discussed in society for quite a long time,” he said during his televised question-and-answer session. “We we witness such tragedies [recent mass killing in Belgorod – Itar-Tass], I can hardly keep from taking a pen to sign some documents to re-impose the death penalty. But this problem should be talked over with specialists, with criminologists. Specialists say that it is impossible to exterminate crime through toughening punishment.”
As an example, he took the Roman Empire, where theft was punished by death. Paradoxically, but the biggest number of thefts used to be committed right when people gathered on a square to yawp at a criminal being put to death. “I understand people’s indignation and their determination to punish criminals. But the question is in efficiency,” the president noted. “Why should one think that such criminals could be released? We have such punishment as life sentence. And you can take it from me that conditions there are a far cry from that at a health resort.”
After joining the Council of Europe in February 1996, Russia undertook to impose a ban on the death penalty and to outlaw it de jure. In May 1996, the president signed a decree on reduced use of capital punishment. A moratorium on capital punishment was imposed in August 1996.
Under the new Criminal Code that came into force from On January 1, 1997, capital punishment may be used as an exceptional measure to punish the gravest crimes. Such crimes include murder (under aggravating circumstance); infringement on the life of a state or public figure; infringement on the life of a judge, investigator or a police officer; and genocide. In April 1997, Russian signed Protocol 6 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms that provides for the abolition of the death penalty. As of now, Russia is the only European Council member state that has not yet ratified this document.
On February 2, 1999, Russia’s Constitutional Court imposed a moratorium on the death penalty until the institution of jury trial is introduced throughout the country. On November 19, 2009, the Constitutional Court extended the moratorium until Protocol 6 to the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms is ratified.