Today was the 8th World Day against capital punishment. In two-thirds of the world’s countries the practice has either been abolished or abandoned. Among European countries, only Belarus still has the death penalty. Of the 58 countries that continue to authorise the death penalty, 18 are known to have carried out executions in 2009. Sadly, those countries include the United States. On this issue, I believe, Europe can, and does, set an example for the rest of the world, whether ‘Europe’ means the European Union or the broader grouping of the Council of Europe. All too often the existence of the death penalty is accompanied by an asbence of procedural guarantees. As the EU High Representative, Cathy Ashton, put it, ‘There is no room for complacency – every execution is one too many.’