[JURIST] Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi [official website] urged all nations to institute a moratorium on capital punishment in an address [PDF text] delivered to the UN General Assembly Tuesday. Prodi said that such action would mark great progress in ethics and that:
A United Nations resolution against the death penalty will prove that human beings today are better than they were yesterday also in moral terms. An outcome with enormous consequences, heralding a more just future, and a society that has at least freed itself from the spiral of revenge, demonstrating that it has heeded the warning of the ancients: "if you want peace, you must work for justice."Prodi noted that support for such a resolution is gaining ground in Europe, despite a recent decision by Poland to reject plans [CNSNews report] for a European Union "day against the death penalty" [press release] scheduled for October. A proposed UN resolution calling for a moratorium is expected to receive resistance from others as well, including the US and China.
In January, Italy received the support [JURIST report] of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon when it launched a new push against the death penalty [JURIST report] following the execution of Saddam Hussein. On the whole, Italians fervently oppose [CNN report] capital punishment, often protesting high-profile death penalty cases abroad. In May, however, over 300 Italian prisoners currently serving life sentences sent a letter [JURIST report] to the Italian president asking that the death penalty be reinstated. AP has more.