The resolution passed by the United Nations General Assembly calling for a moratorium on the death penalty, has been welcomed by many governments and organisations. But nowhere as warmly as in Italy – the country that has been at the forefront of the campaign to abolish capital punishment.
Italian Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, said it was “truly an historic day”.
“Italy is proud to have been the first to support an initiative that has progressively transformed into a grand international coalition in favor of rights and human dignity,” he added.
Within Italy, the Radical Party has worked hardest to end the death penalty.
Radical Party member and Minister for International Trade and European Affairs, Emma Bonino, described it as a “gift to humanity”, adding: “We call on Italians to keep supporting us in this fight and other fights of a global scale.”
However, the UN resolution is non-binding and many of the 54 countries who voted against it have made it clear they consider the death penalty a matter of national criminal justice and have no intention of changing their statute books.