by Max Barry

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Region: Refugia

Good morning! I know World Assembly Affairs have been quiet since the election, mainly because there's just been very little happening in the WA this year. But at last we have a new proposal in the GA: Greater Cesnica's Repeal: International Criminal Protocol. Let's take a look.

Proposal: page=UN_view_proposal/id=greater_cesnica_1610514451
Forum thread: viewtopic.php?f=9&t=495832
Target: page=WA_past_resolution/id=500/council=1
Target forum thread: viewtopic.php?f=10&t=456881

Let's talk first about the resolution it's trying to repeal. International Criminal Protocol was passed on 2020/07/21. It abbreviates to ICP, so if you're bored you can read discussion and pretend it's about Insane Clown Posse, which I think is a big plus. Its big goals were to establish a base standard for the treatment and living conditions of prisoners, and to set standards and restrictions for the use of capital punishment. To this end, it outlawed what's colloquially known as solitary confinement and only allowed a slightly less severe variant under specific conditions. There are also a lot of lines in here outlining how exactly capital punishment can and can't be administered. Most of the other clauses about stuff like outlawing forced labour are pretty straightforward, so you should be able to glean most of the important stuff at a glance.

So why is this being repealed? Well, it's because of a little line tucked away at the very bottom of the text:

wrote:Reserves to Member-States the right to determine the legality of capital punishment within their jurisdiction

The author is arguing that by reserving the legality of capital punishment, ICP is hindering future legislation to end what the author views as an inhumane practice. That's the entirety of the case here. Now, I want to be clear: I know that many of us in this region have an ideological opposition to the death penalty, and the initial reaction is to vote in favour of loosening its legality. But I have a couple of reservations here.

First, capital punishment is covered in great detail in GAR#443, Preventing the Execution of Innocents. Let me give you the high points of this one: member nations are entitled to utilize capital punishment if they so choose, but it must be reviewed and confirmed by a WA committee. Member states may only submit one case per million residents per year. There's a bunch of stuff about ensuring a fair trial. It prevents the use of execution for minors and mentally disabled persons, for nonviolent offenses, and for crimes "not directly affecting more than one person." Execution methods must be confirmed to be without pain and suffering. The defense in these cases must be allowed a year during trial to review evidence, and the WA given six months after the verdict to see about overturning it. The reason I bring this up is to make clear that repealing GAR#500 will not directly enable a ban on capital punishment, and further attempts to do so would require the repeal of #443, which already bars it in many cases. Cesnica isn't being dishonest here, but I think they're a bit starry-eyed to get hung up on this point.

I do think GC borders on dishonesty in one portion of the repeal, however:

wrote:Reassuring member states that a replacement resolution has been drafted to carry on the vital protections GA #500 offered concerning prison conditions

In my mind, a promise of replacement legislation carries the implication that it's been drafted to at least a reasonable measure of completeness, such that it could go to vote shortly thereafter. Here is Greater Cesnica's proposed replacement. This is a skeleton of a draft. Every line, except for the assurance of legal resources, is so close to the original most teachers would call it plagiarism. Presumably they acquired permission from the original author to use their work, but even so, this is clearly not a suitable replacement, and I take issue with propping it up to create the impression of a repeal and replace scenario.

At present, I think this repeal gains very little and loses a lot of useful (if imperfect) mandates about livable conditions and further restrictions on executions. Tell me what you think, and if it reaches quorum within the next 60 hours, I'll prepare an IFV statement taking everyone's feedback into account.

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