Life sentence penalty and extradition under article 3 of the ECHR: A leading case of the European Court of Human Rights

  • Dr.Sc. Mario Antinucci
Keywords: Life sentences and extradition, Article 3 of ECHR, The UN standard minimum rules, Rehabilitation of imprisonment, Case law and leading sentence, The right to hope,


Life sentence penalty covers a diverse range of practices, from the most severe form of life imprisonment without parole, in which a person is sentenced to die in prison so long as their sentence stands, to more indeterminate sentences in which at the time of sentencing it is not clear how long the sentenced person will spend in prison. Dealing with the question whether the extradition of a person to a foreign state where is accused of a crime for which a sentence of life imprisonment can be imposed can potentially violate article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

What all these sentences have in common, however, is that at the time the sentence is passed, a person is liable to be detained for the rest of his or her natural life. We all know “The United Nations Standard Minimum Rules” and relevant international instruments on the rehabilitation of imprisonment, but at the moment more than 73 States in the world retain life imprisonment as a penalty for offences committed while under the age of 18. General perspective of criminal justice reform in Latin America should take into a right account the meaning of life - imprisonment penalty under article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which prohibits torture and inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

Author Biography

Dr.Sc. Mario Antinucci
Criminal Lawyer in Rome, Prof of Criminal Procedure at School of Specialisation of Legal Professions, SAPIENZA University of Rome,


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