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Other International Treaties and Juvenile Executions


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Other International Treaties and Juvenile Executions

The U.N. Convention on the Rights of the Child also specifically prohibits the use of the death penalty for juvenile offenders. This treaty goes even further and outlaws the sentence of life without possibility of parole for those under 18. Virtually every country in the world has ratified this treaty, except the U.S. The U.S. has signed the treaty, but not ratified it, in part because we foresee the conflict between our practice of executing juveniles and the treaty.

Similarly, the U.S. has signed but not ratified the American Convention on Human Rights, which states: "capital punishment shall not be imposed upon persons who, at the time the crime was committed, were under 18 years of age."  The major role of these treaties in international law and the near unanimous acceptance of their prohibition regarding juveniles leads to the conclusion that this is no longer a "lawful sanction." In this sense, the U.S. violates the Torture Convention when it executes juvenile offenders because this grave infliction of pain and suffering is not associated with a lawful punishment.

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