[JURIST] The European Union [official website] has released a statement [text] criticizing the death penalty after North Carolina executed Kenneth Lee Boyd [JURIST report], marking the 1,000th execution in the US since the US Supreme Court lifted a 10 year moratorium [DPIC backgrounder] on capital punishment in 1976. "We consider this punishment cruel and inhuman," said the statement. "It does not act as a deterrent and any miscarriage of justice -- which is inevitable in any legal system -- is irreversible." The EU commended the Supreme Court on 2002 and 2005 decisions declaring the execution of mentally deficient and juvenile offenders unconstitutional, but urged the US to reconsider its withdrawal [JURIST report] from the Optional Protocol of the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations (VCCR) [text], which "gives the right to consular assistance in death penalty cases." Today, 38 of the 50 states and the US government permit capital punishment; according to Amnesty International [advocacy website]. Only China, Iran and Vietnam executed more citizens in 2004 than the US. Reuters has more.