EU does not meddle in domestic affairs of other nations: envoy
By Enru Lin, The China PostTAIPEI, Taiwan -- The European Union won't interfere in Taiwan's management of the death penalty, said the head of European Economic and Trade Office (EETO) in Taipei, yesterday.
January 4, 2013, 12:02 am TWN
EETO chief representative Frederic Laplanche responded Thursday to renewed local accusations of meddling.
After the Ministry of Justice executed six death row inmates late December, the EU released a strong statement accusing Taiwan of reneging on its pledge to abolish capital punishment.
“After the statement, some people have said that you're meddling in Taiwan's affairs, and have requested that the EU take care of itself first,” said a Chinese-language Web media platform in an interview aired Thursday.
The charge is untrue, responded Laplanche.
“We don't meddle in domestic affairs, be they of Taiwan or any other country. We don't apply additional pressure, we don't make demands and we don't use methods related to other aspects of our cooperation with the Taiwan government. We don't play that game,” he told Web outlet New Talk (新頭殼) in Chinese.
Laplanche said the EU promotes its long-standing and public opposition to the death penalty through “communication and concrete cooperation.”
The EU's statement denouncing December's executions are part of that communication, he said.
In a nod to Taiwan's low public support for abolition, Laplanche suggested that public opinion shouldn't necessarily rule government action on capital punishment.
When France's National Convention abolished the death penalty in 1981, it did not have the support of the French people. Lawmakers passed the bill as reform, wishing that French society would move in that direction, he said.
French lawmakers were able to act against the grain of public opinion by means of cooperation and deeper dialogue across party lines, and the EU wishes to see more of that in Taiwan, he said.
During the 30-minute interview, Laplanche also addressed the rights of victims' families — a key point in Taiwan's death penalty dialogue.
Rights protection for victims' families is a big problem that can't be solved by the death penalty, said Laplanche.
Support includes psychological counseling, as well as “the highest quality judiciary system,” he continued.
“We believe that the best possible quality judiciary system does not use the death penalty, because any country's judiciary system has the capacity to make mistakes. It's inevitable,” he said.
If a judiciary system uses the death penalty, it is unable to revise its mistakes, he continued.