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The US administration of Democratic President Joe Biden announced Thursday that it was imposing a moratorium on federal executions, denouncing their “arbitrary” aspect and their “disproportionate impact on people of color”. Conversely, Donald Trump’s government had returned to this practice.
The US Department of Justice announced Thursday, July 1, imposing a moratorium on federal executions, a turning point compared to the Trump administration which had carried out a record number of death sentences.
“Serious concerns have been raised about the continued use of the death penalty in the country,” said US Justice Minister Merrick Garland in a note. “Notably the arbitrariness of its application, its disproportionate impact on people of color and the disturbing number of exemptions in capital punishment cases and other serious cases,” detailed the minister.
He ordered a moratorium on all federal executions, while his ministry “reviews its policies and procedures on capital punishment.”
13 federal executions under Trump
In the United States, it is traditionally the states, and not the federal government, that execute the most. Federal justice generally only intervenes in cases of drugs, terrorism or espionage. The federal authorities had not carried out any execution in 17 years, until July 2020.
The government of Republican billionaire Donald Trump then revived this practice and chained them at an unprecedented rate (13), despite the decline in the death penalty in the United States and around the world.
“The ministry must ensure that it scrupulously maintains its commitment to fairness and humane treatment in the administration of existing federal laws governing death sentences,” said the Minister of Justice chosen by Joe Biden, president known for his opposition to capital punishment.