H.E François Pujolas participated in the opening of the Parliamentary Roundtable and Consultations on the Abolition of the Death Penalty
The Ambassador of France to Ghana, H.E François Pujolas, was invited this Friday, March 4th, to participate in the opening of the Parliamentary Roundtable and Consultations on the Abolition of the Death Penalty, held by the Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA).
At this occasion, H.E François Pujolas recalled the commitment of France in favour of the universal abolition of the death penalty, by partnering with NGOs, among them Amnesty International Ghana, media, associations, intellectuals, students. In the case of France, the journey towards abolition was particularly long and divided the country, but it is now part of the national heritage and is enshrined in its Constitution. The Ambassador also reminded the audience that following one of the entrenched clauses in Ghana’s 1992 Constitution, the recommendation for the abolition of the death penalty must go to a referendum for the people of Ghana to make a decision, therefore putting Ghana at a crossroad on this issue. Although the process has been delayed, H.E. François Pujolas expressed his sincere hope that through the forthcoming referendum on the constitution review, the option for abolishing the death penalty will be discussed and decided by the population.
He ended his speech by stating that “There are battles we cannot win alone, and the fight against the death penalty is one of them. We all know here that the road to abolition is long and difficult. All countries that are moving in this direction will find France with them. France is convinced that abolishing the death penalty is a step towards justice and faith in dignity of the human being.”
France abolished the death penalty in 1981, under the Act of October 9th as a result from the commitment of Robert Badinter, a longtime opponent of capital punishment and Minister of Justice at the time, and his notable speech before the National Assembly. This Act was a step forward in France’s long-standing campaign to promote human dignity. The abolition of the death penalty was incorporated into the Constitution of the Fifth Republic in 2007. The Constitution now stipulates, in Article 66-1, that “no one shall be sentenced to death”. Furthermore, under French law, it is forbidden to remove people to a country where they would face the death penalty.
Finally, France has been involved in favor of a worldwide adoption of this Human Right alongside the European Union, the United Nations and its High Commissioner on Human Rights or the International Commission against Death Penalty.