NewsRussia debates lifting death penalty moratorium amidst controversy

Russia debates lifting death penalty moratorium amidst controversy

President of Russia Vladimir Putin
President of Russia Vladimir Putin
Images source: © Getty Images | Contributor
Adam Zygiel

28 June 2024 21:07

The head of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation, Aleksandr Bastrykin, said that in some cases, the death penalty should be applied. He stated that the moratorium should be reconsidered.

- We must consider the possibility of lifting the moratorium on the death penalty. In some cases, it should be applied, and in those cases, I am a supporter of the death penalty - he said on Friday at a Legal Forum session in St. Petersburg.

As an example, the head of the Investigative Committee cited the terrorist attack at the Crocus concert hall near Moscow, which resulted in the deaths of 144 people.

- In Soviet times, the death penalty could be applied for the murder of two or three people. He said the accused (in the case of the Crocus Hall attack - ed.) would receive the maximum penalty.

- It seems to me that we need to revisit this issue. I am a supporter of the death penalty. I think it would be humane if a madman who killed 70-100 people were sentenced to death, to execution - he said.

Is Putin's decree enough?

The head of the Investigative Committee suggested that a presidential decree could lift the moratorium without changing the constitution.

- Several competent, qualified lawyers have told me that the constitution needs to be changed, that a referendum needs to be held, but I believe that a presidential decree should lift the moratorium on the death penalty - added Bastrykin.

Moratorium on the death penalty

Currently, the Russian criminal code contains five offences for which the perpetrator can be sentenced to death: murder under certain aggravating circumstances, attempted murder of a judge, attempted murder of a police officer, attempted murder of an official, and genocide.

In 1997, a moratorium on the death penalty was introduced in Russia after the country joined the Council of Europe. However, Moscow withdrew from the organisation after the invasion of Ukraine began. The possibility of reinstating the death penalty was previously admitted, among others, by Dmitry Medvedev.

The President of the Constitutional Court, Valery Zorkin, said in 2022 that, in his view, the reinstatement of the death penalty is unconstitutional and would require an amendment to the fundamental law.

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