The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and United Kingdom Law

By David Harris; Sarah Joseph | Go to book overview

5
The Right to Life SARAH JOSEPH

ARTICLE 6
1. Every human being has the inherent right to life. This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.
2. In countries which have not abolished the death penalty, sentence of death may be imposed only for the most serious crimes in accordance with the law in force at the time of the commission of the crime and not contrary to the provisions of the present Covenant and to the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide. This penalty can only be carried out pursuant to a final judgment rendered by a competent court.
3. When deprivation of life constitutes the crime of genocide, it is understood that nothing in this article shall authorise any State party to the present Covenant to derogate in any way from any obligation assumed under the provisions of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.
4. Anyone sentenced to death shall have the right to seek pardon or commutation of the sentence. Amnesty, pardon or commutation of the sentence of death may be granted in all cases.
5. Sentence of death shall not be imposed for crimes committed by persons below eighteen years of age and shall not be carried out on pregnant women.
6. Nothing in this article shall be invoked to delay or prevent the abolition of capital punishment by any State party to the present Covenant.

INTRODUCTION

The right to life must surely rank as the most basic and fundamental of all human rights. Indeed, non-observance of the Article 6 guarantee would seem to render all other human rights devoid of meaning.1

____________________
1
See Nowak, M., UN Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: CCPR commentary ( Kehl, 1993),104.

-155-

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