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'Death Is Different' – The Death Penalty And The Right To A Fair Trial

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Chapter Summary

'Death is different': The formula links the knowledge that taking a convict's life distinguishes itself fundamentally from all other penalties because of its irreversible character with the requirement that utmost care must be taken to ensure that nobody is sentenced to death and executed who does not meet the degree of ultimate guilt that would - if ever - justify such penalty. This chapter discusses whether in fact and to what extent contemporary international human rights law treats the death penalty differently from other penal sanctions. It focuses more specifically on whether and how fair trial standards in death penalty cases are different from those applicable in criminal trials in general. Finally, the chapter examines the question, as to whether more stringent standards are also applied at the international level when human rights organs examine death penalty cases.

Keywords: death penalty; fair trial standards; international human rights law



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