IBAHRI welcomes the abolition of the death penalty in Colorado

Friday 3 April 2020

The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI) commends the State of Colorado, United States, on repealing the death penalty for crimes committed after 1 July 2020. It has become the 22nd state to abolish capital punishment. The decision was justified by the inefficiency of the punishment as a deterrent, its painful and violent execution, and its disproportionate implementation against people from non-white communities.

Senate Bill 20-100, introduced on 14 January 2020, was passed and signed by the Governor of Colorado, Jared Polis, on 23 March 2020. Although the law is not retrospective, Governor Polis has commuted the sentences of the three men who were awaiting execution to life in prison without the possibility of parole. Governor Polis explained these commutations by saying that they are consistent with the abolition of capital punishment and consistent with ‘the recognition that the death penalty cannot be, and never has been, administered equitably in the State of Colorado.’

IBAHRI Co-Chair and immediate past Secretary General of the Swedish Bar Association, Anne Ramberg commented: ‘The significance of this event spans beyond the borders of Colorado as it sends a positive message across the US and the rest of the world. The IBAHRI has consistently worked to uphold the illegality of the death penalty under international law. The IBAHRI welcomes this new legislation, which brings us one step closer to a world free from the death penalty.’

Adopted on 15 May 2008, the IBAHRI Council Resolution on the Abolition of the Death Penalty maintains that the death penalty is illegal under the justice system of international law. The IBAHRI is pleased with the state of Colorado joining the fold of precursors among US states who have relinquished this inhumane form of justice, and congratulates Governor Polis and Coloradan lawmakers for this victory of human rights over this outdated penalty.

IBAHRI Director, Baroness Helena Kennedy QC stated: ‘Anyone sincerely committed to the fulfilment of human rights must eventually come to the realisation that the death penalty is not, nor has it ever been a viable punishment, whatever crime may have been committed. By renouncing this practice, the lawmakers of Colorado have demonstrated a real dedication to the pursuit of human rights which the IBAHRI commends.’


Notes to the Editor

  1. Click here to read the background paper to the IBAHRI Resolution on the Abolition of the Death Penalty
  2. The International Bar Association’s Human Rights Institute (IBAHRI), an autonomous and financially independent entity, works to promote, protect and enforce human rights under a just rule of law, and to preserve the independence of the judiciary and the legal profession worldwide.
  3. The International Bar Association (IBA), the global voice of the legal profession, is the foremost organisation for international legal practitioners, bar associations and law societies. Established in 1947, shortly after the creation of the United Nations, it was born out of the conviction that an organisation made up of the world's bar associations could contribute to global stability and peace through the administration of justice.

    In the ensuing 70 years since its creation, the organisation has evolved from an association comprised exclusively of bar associations and law societies to one that incorporates individual international lawyers and entire law firms. The present membership is comprised of more than 80,000 individual international lawyers from most of the world’s leading law firms and some 190 bar associations and law societies spanning more than 170 countries.

    The IBA has considerable expertise in providing assistance to the global legal community, and through its global membership, it influences the development of international law reform and helps to shape the future of the legal profession throughout the world.

    The IBA’s administrative office is in London, United Kingdom. Regional offices are located in: São Paulo, Brazil; Seoul, South Korea; and Washington DC, United States, while the International Bar Association’s International Criminal Court and International Criminal Law Programme (ICC & ICL) is managed from an office in The Hague, the Netherlands.

For further information please contact:

Romana St. Matthew - Daniel
Press Office
International Bar Association
4th Floor, 10 St Bride Street,
London EC4A 4AD

Mobile: +44 (0)7940 731 915
Direct Line: +44 (0)20 7842 0094
Main Office: +44 (0)20 7842 0090
Fax: +44 (0)20 7842 0091

Email: romana.daniel@int-bar.org
Website: www.ibanet.org

IBA website page link for this news release:
Short link: tinyurl.com/v2jap43