California: With state executions on hold, death penalty foes rethink ballot strategy

California advocates of abolishing the death penalty got a jolt of momentum in March, when Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that he would not allow any executions to take place while he was in office.
But after trying twice this decade to persuade voters to end capital punishment, they have no plans to go to the ballot again in 2020. Rather than seeking to build on Newsom’s temporary reprieve for Death Row inmates, activists are taking their own pause.
Grappling with the legacy of their two failed initiatives, advocates are reassessing their strategy and retooling their message. Natasha Minsker, a political consultant who has long been involved with abolition efforts, said the governor’s moratorium has given advocates the opportunity to do long-term planning.
“There’s this excitement and energy in our movement that we haven’t had in a long time,” Minsker said.
Newsom’s executive order caught many Californians by surprise. Although he supported the unsuccessful ballot measures to abolish t…

Argentina definitively abolishes the death penalty

The country has ratified the UN's Second Optional Protocol, which makes it impossible to reinstate the death penalty. The World Coalition is currently campaigning in favour of that international treaty.

On September 2, Argentina ratified the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty. The country had signed the treaty in December 2006 (photo). The ratification means that Argentina is unreservedly committed to abolishing the death penalty in a total and definitive manner for all crimes.

The country was already a good way on the road to abolition as it had got rid of capital punishment for common crimes and article 18 of its constitution states the "total abolition of the death penalty for political reasons." Last August, the reform of the Military justice code led to the deletion of all references to the death penalty for military crimes.

Last step

Argentina took the last step by ratifying the Second Optional Protocol. Under a 1994 constitutional amendment, international treaties signed by Argentina are equivalent to constitutional rules.

The ratification of the Protocol therefore enshrines the complete and irreversible abolition of the death penalty into Argentina's constitution and expresses the country's will to make capital punishment illegal on its soil.

After the Second Optional Protocol, Argentina ratified a treaty aiming at abolishing the death penalty at the regional level on September 5. It had signed that Organisation of American States-sponsored treaty in December 2006 too.

Argentina is now a state party to every regional human rights treaty in America. Those ratifications give a boost to efforts for the abolition of the death penalty on a continent where many states remain retentionist, especially in the Caribbean.

(source: World Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty)

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