Entries tagged with “John Bessler

Facts & Research

History of the Death Penalty

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Feb 20, 2017

BOOKS: The Death Penalty As Torture: From the Dark Ages to Abolition”

In his newest book, The Death Penalty As Torture: From the Dark Ages to Abolition, John Bessler chron­i­cles the his­tor­i­cal link between tor­ture and the death penal­ty from the Middle Ages to the present day and argues that both are medieval relics. The book, released on February 17, 2017, asserts that cap­i­tal pun­ish­ment is itself a form of tor­ture, despite mod­ern legal dis­tinc­tions that out­law tor­ture while per­mit­ting death sen­tences and executions.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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Dec 08, 2023

Discussions with DPIC Podcast: Classifying Capital Punishment as Torture with John Bessler

In this month’s episode of Discussions with DPIC, Managing Director Anne Holsinger speaks with John Bessler (pic­tured), Professor of Law at the University of Baltimore School of Law. Professor Bessler is the author of sev­er­al books on the death penal­ty, includ­ing his 2023 book The Death Penalty’s Denial of Fundamental Human Rights: International Law, State Practice, and the Emerging Abolitionist Norm. In his most recent book, Professor Bessler argues that the death penal­ty should be clas­si­fied as tor­ture, which would pro­hib­it its use under inter­na­tion­al law and treaties. The reality…

Policy Issues

International

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Apr 19, 2018

Professor John Bessler Traces Italian Philosopher’s Abolitionist Legacy in New Book and Article

In 1764, Italian philoso­pher Cesare Beccaria wrote the trea­tise, Dei delit­ti e delle pene, which author John Bessler (pic­tured) says spawned glob­al move­ments for fair and pro­por­tion­al pun­ish­ment and against prac­tices such as tor­ture and the death penal­ty. Beccaria’s book was a best-sell­er that swept across Europe and, trans­lat­ed into English in 1767 as An Essay on Crimes and Punishments, into the American colonies, shap­ing the beliefs of America’s found­ing fathers, and influ­enc­ing lead­ers, rev­o­lu­tion­ar­ies, and law reformers.

Policy Issues

Human Rights

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International

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May 09, 2023

SCHOLARSHIP: Is the Death Penalty Torture Under International Law?

In an arti­cle for the University of Oxford Death Penalty Research Unit, Professor John Bessler dis­cuss­es whether the use of the death penal­ty should be clas­si­fied as tor­ture under the norms of inter­na­tion­al law. Bessler argues that since psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture is pro­hib­it­ed under the most fun­da­men­tal prin­ci­ples of inter­na­tion­al law (jus cogens norms) and since death threats are a form of psy­cho­log­i­cal tor­ture, then gov­ern­men­tal death threats as part of the death penal­ty are tor­tur­ous and a vio­la­tion of inter­na­tion­al law. Death threats are an inte­gral part of death sentences,…