October 6-9, 2004: CCCB to Participate in Second World Congress against the Death Penalty

Tuesday, October 05 2004

(CCCB-Ottawa) Archbishop Roger Ébacher of Gatineau-Hull and Msgr. Alan McCormack, P.H., of the Canadian Appeal Tribunal of the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops (CCCB) will be the official representatives for the Catholic Church at the 2nd World Congress against the Death Penalty to be held in Montreal, October 6-9, 2004

Msgr. McCormack has been designated as the official delegate of the Holy See. Formerly with the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith, he is now Judicial Vicar of the Canadian Appeal Tribunal, which deals with cases involving the nullity of marriages. Archbishop Ébacher, a member of the CCCB Social Affairs Commission, will represent the CCCB which has spoken out many times against the death penalty and the promotion of human life from conception until its natural end.

The aim of the Montreal congress is to sensitize international public opinion and invite citizens everywhere to say no to the death penalty; to convince Canada, France, Mexico, Brazil and other countries to ratify the Protocol 2 of the UN International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which outlaws the death penalty; to encourage additional countries, such as Kazakhstan, Mali and Senegal, to eliminate the death penalty from their respective penal codes; and in abolitionist countries, to prohibit the extradition of individuals and to accept refugees who could be condemned to death in their countries of origin.

The 1st World Congress against the Death Penalty took place in Strasbourg, France, in June 2001. The participants demanded “a halt to all executions on the road toward universal abolition”. The Congress led to the creation of the World Coalition against the Death Penalty and its Restoration with October 10 each year being declared the World Day against the Death Penalty.

The universal abolition of the death penalty becomes an increasingly attainable goal with every passing year. Each year, additional countries abolish the death penalty, including, since 2001, Chile and Turkey. There was an international outcry when the governments of Lebanon and Chad resumed executions in 2003.