December 6, 2000


Dear Mr. President,

Last July, the European Union wrote to you about the case of Mr. Juan Raul Garza, a death-row inmate whose execution was imminent. You granted him a reprieve for the purpose of examining, in full knowledge of the case, his request for the sentence to be commuted. With the date for your decision approaching, I wish to make again, on behalf of the presidency of the European Union and in my own name, a solemn appeal for your clemency.

You are well aware of the European Union's determined stand on the abolition of the death penalty. It is based on the conviction that this penalty is contrary to human dignity.  Its universal abolition would further the development of human rights to which the European Union and the United States are equally committed.

The European Union is encouraged in its struggle by the fact that many countries have abolished the death penalty or adopted de facto or de jure moratoriums. That is the case of all the members of the European Council.

The European Union welcomed an appreciable shift in your country after the decision by the Governor of Illinois, in January 2000, to order a moratorium on executions.

Today, I appeal to you as a statesman, and also as a man of conscience and conviction. In showing mercy to Mr. Garza, you would confirm the de facto moratorium on federal executions that has been observed for 37 years. Such a decision would set an example.

Please accept, Mr. President, the expression of my highest consideration.

With best regards,

Jacques Chirac


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