• Audience for the Pope John XXIII community

No Justice Without Life

2012-11-28 Vatican Radio

(Vatican Radio) The International Day of Cities for Life was inaugurated on Tuesday during the International Congress of Justice Ministers taking place on the theme “For a world without the death penalty” Organised by the Rome-based Sant’ Egidio Community the Conference, now at its 7th edition, plays a major role in efforts to achieve abolition of capital punishment worldwide.

For the occasion, Justice Ministers from 20 countries around the world, European authorities and anti-death penalty activists are bearing witness to their own experiences, penning proposals and lending their support for the U.N. Resolution calling for a universal moratorium. 1.500 cities have so far joined this planetary mobilization to stop the death penalty.

Speaking to Vatican Radio’s Linda Bordoni, Mario Marazziti – spokesperson of the Sant’ Egidio Community and Vice President of the Worldwide Coalition Against the Death Penalty explains that the conference represents a precious moment of dialogue in the ongoing battle against capital punishment…

Listen to the interview…

"It is a growing movement. We (Sant’Egidio) have started a method that is not just lobbying. It is putting together people from civil societies, NGOs, Statesmen and women and people who can make decisions to make a synergy and to cross-impollinate the good things that each one can give to the other one. So we listen with great respect to the difficulties of the Ministers of Justice that come from retentionist countries, and we can accompany them to overcome the difficulties they face in their nations, to create this tremendous difference that is made by abolishing the death penalty.

Marazziti says the conference also foresees a private meeting for participants to that they can gather all suggestions. It is also, he says, a cultural movement "because we cannot change the world without changing a culture based on revenge and death into a culture of life".

Marazziti also explains that the presence of the Minister of Justice of Zimbabwe, a country which practices the death penalty, is part of Sant'Egidio's wish to not "demonize" a country, but to work with the people there and to help them take the courage to take the steps that are needed to change things.

He says the death penalty never coincides with the identity to a country.

Marazziti also speaks of the significance of the Pope's voice in the battle to abolish the death penalty and illustrates the initiative to illuminate the Colosseum: "a symbol of death that becomes a symbol of hope and life".

Finally, he speaks of his joy at being able to celebrate the abolition of the death penalty in Connecticut, "a big message to the USA and to every country".