Duma could ratify death penalty protocol to European Convention

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MOSCOW, September 9 (RIA Novosti) - The lower house of parliament could ratify the sixth protocol to the European Human Rights Convention banning the death penalty during its fall session, a senior member of the lower house said Friday.

Konstantin Kosachev, the chairman of the State Duma international affairs committee, said the document had been under consideration for a few years. When Russia joined the Council of Europe in 1996, it assumed the commitment to ratify the protocol within three years. Although the document has not been ratified yet, Russia imposed a moratorium on death sentences in 1996.

He said some members of the European parliament had been in favor of depriving Russia of the voting right for failing to meet its obligations.

Kosachev said the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe was collecting signatures for banning Russia's presidency in the Council of Europe unless it ratifies the protocol by next spring when Russia is to preside over the Council of Ministers of the Council of Europe.

"We will proceed from our national interests, and not because somebody is pressurizing us," Kosachev said, adding that "it is not so much a matter of politics but rather a matter of morals." (MORE)

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