Death penalty will only achieve short term revenge: Amnesty International

SHuman rights group Amnesty International called the decision to condemn the convicted to death a way of taking revenge and adopting short-term, inadequate measures to a big problem

Death penalty to Delhi gangrape case convicts will only achieve short term revenge, human rights body Amnesty International said, suggesting that procedural, structural and institutional reform were needed to tackle violence against women.

In a statement issued after a court awarded death sentence to the four men who had been held guilty of the crime, Amnesty said it was opposed to death penalty in all cases regardless of the nature or circumstances of the crime.

"The rape and murder of the young woman in Delhi last year was a horrific crime and our deepest sympathy goes out to the victim's family. Those responsible must be punished, but the death penalty is never the answer," said Tara Rao, Director of Amnesty International India.

"Sending these four men to the gallows will accomplish nothing except short-term revenge. While the widespread anger over this case is understandable, authorities must avoid using the death penalty as a quick-fix solution. There is no evidence that the death penalty is a particular deterrent to crime, and its use will not eradicate violence against women in India," she added.

The organisation said that addressing the issue requires legal reform and sustained commitment by the authorities to ensure that justice system responds effectively at all levels to reports of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

She also said the attention that authorities gave to this case must extend to the thousands of other pending cases of sexual violence in India. Crimes against women in India are under-reported, and added that many recommendations of Justice Verma Committee had not been fully implemented.

"There must be concerted efforts to change the discriminatory attitudes towards women and girls which lie at the root of the violence. These measures will take hard work, but will be more effective in the long run in making India safer for women," said Rao.

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