The USA’s Engagement with the UN’s Human Rights Committee on the Question of Capital Punishment

Storey, Alice (2022) The USA’s Engagement with the UN’s Human Rights Committee on the Question of Capital Punishment. Intercultural Human Rights Law Review. ISSN 1934-7650 (In Press)

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Abstract

The USA’s engagement with international human rights is fractious. The UN treaty bodies monitor UN Member States’ implementation of human rights treaties, which takes place through cyclical reviews. The treaty bodies are led by independent human rights experts, and, in recent years, civil society organisations have also been able to submit reports to these reviews. In order to provide an example of how the USA interacts with international human rights, this article uses the case study of the USA’s engagement with the Human Rights Committee (‘the Committee’) on the question of capital punishment. The Committee is the treaty body attached to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (‘ICCPR’), a seminal multilateral agreement that provides numerous protections relating to the death penalty.

The USA has been reviewed three times by the Committee, in 1995, 2006, and 2014. To collate a comprehensive dataset, all references made to the death penalty in the three reviews were collated and categorised. From this, three key issues were identified as the focus of this analysis: (1) the non-self-executing declaration lodged against the ICCPR by the USA, (2) the reservation lodged against Article 6 and juvenile executions, and (3) categorical exemptions to the death penalty. The discussions relating to these three themes have been examined to assess the USA’s engagement with the Committee and, ultimately, suggest ways in which the USA can better engage with the Committee in future reviews. This is particularly important as the USA’s next Committee review is imminent.

Item Type: Article
Dates:
DateEvent
14 March 2022Accepted
Uncontrolled Keywords: capital punishment, international human rights, treaty bodies, human rights committee, United States
Subjects: CAH16 - law > CAH16-01 - law > CAH16-01-01 - law
Divisions: Faculty of Business, Law and Social Sciences > School of Law
Depositing User: Alice Storey
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2022 10:22
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2022 10:22
URI: http://www.open-access.bcu.ac.uk/id/eprint/13016

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