The European Union and its member states are responsible for countless deaths and acts of brutality. It will continue to be morally, and legally responsible for as long as companies within the EU are allowed to trade in equipment that is used for torture and murder.
Amnesty International has recently reported that a UK company is trading in a drug called sodium thiopental which is used in US for judicial executions. As recently as October 2010 this drug was used in the execution of Jeffrey Landrigan in Arizona. This sequence of events is not only morally deplorable but also illegal.
Council Regulation (EC) No 1236/2005 effectively banned the trade in tools of torture. This included equipment that could be used for capital punishment. I have blogged before how this legislation has not been effectively implemented, and it saddens me to highlight that little has improved.
The reason the European Commission has not enforced these rules is based predominantly to do with lack of resources. Simply, it is not seen as a priority. This is why Amnesty International has called on the President of European Commission to:
- Ensure that sufficient Commission resources are given to following up on implementation and revision of the Regulation
- Update the Regulation’s annexes, to include controls on those drugs currently being sourced in the EU for executions in the USA, in addition to those items listed in the Amnesty International/ Omega Research Foundation report of March 2010
- Organise a meeting of trade experts from across the EU (the Committee on Common Rules for Exports) to take place as soon as possible, to discuss the use of drugs in executions in the USA and to agree on a change to the Regulation to include a new end-use ‘catch-all’ clause.