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A Transatlantic Divide: Exploring European and American Approaches to the Death Penalty     Print Email
Monday, 17 December 2007

As New Jersey abolished capital punishment, European and American decision makers and experts met to examine the divergent transatlantic approaches to the death penalty at a meeting convened in cooperation with the Portuguese Presidency of the European Council. Portugal has led the campaign for the universal abolition of the death penalty. The continued use of this practice by the U.S. remains a central point of contention in the transatlantic dialogue. In addition to H.E. João de Vallera, Ambassador of Portugal, participants included Laurence Rothenberg, Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Policy at the U.S. Department of Justice (speaking on a personal basis) and Robert Blecker, Professor of Law at New York Law School who spoke for the death penalty. Richard Dieter, Executive Director of the Death Penalty Information Center, and Deborah Fleischaker, Director of the Death Penalty Moratorium Implementation Project, American Bar Association reasoned for a moratorium on the death sentence. Robert Harris, Assistant Legal Advisor for Human Rights at the U.S. Department of State addressed the human rights issue. The discussion was moderated by Neil Lewis, Legal Correspondent from the New York Times.