- Juan E. Méndez, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture; Source: United Nations - Geneva
The traditional view of the legality of capital punishment with respect to the right to life guaranteed under international law is slowly changing into an approach considering the infliction of severe mental and physical pain or suffering in the execution of a person, according to the UNSRT. Méndez has stated that the emerging “death row phenomenon” has changed the context of capital punishment in the light of the prohibition of torture. Under “death row phenomenon” one understands a combination of circumstances producing severe mental trauma and physical suffering among prisoners serving death sentences (e.g. increased anxiety, prolonged solitary confinement, poor prison conditions and lack of educational and recreational activities).
The UNSRT explicitly criticised the United States and Iran while he did not mention China in his report. China executes more people than any other country and has been continuously subjected to criticism for its execution methods by human rights organisations.